European Commission grants GI tag for Himachal’s Kangra tea

Context: Recently, Himachal Pradesh’s famous Kangra Tea has been awarded a protected Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the European Union (EU), opening up new opportunities for the tea to enter the European market.

The EC notified granting PGI on March 22 and this will come into effect from April 11, 2023.

The key characteristics of ‘Kangra tea’

  • It is produced in the slopes of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges of the Western Himalayas. The tea is cultivated in various areas, including Palampur, Baijnath, Kangra, Dharmshala, Jogindernagar, and Bhatiyat.
  • It is grown at an elevation ranging from 900 to 1,400 metres above sea level with the annual rainfall being 270-350 cm.  
  • This unique tea is derived from the leaves, buds, and tender stems of the Camellia sinensis species cultivated in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India.
  • It is available in green, oolong, white, and orthodox black types. While the black tea has a sweet lingering after-taste, the green tea has a delicate woody aroma. 
  • The tea has a light colour, high body in liquor, and leaves that contain up to 13% catechins, 3% caffeine, and amino acids such as theanine, glutamine, and tryptophan.
  • Kangra tea is a little milder than Darjeeling tea in terms of flavour and has more body and liquor.
  • Kangra Tea previously received an Indian Geographical Indication tag in 2005, and since 1999, the cultivation and development of the tea have steadily improved in the Kangra region.

About geographical indication

  • A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.

In India

Geographical Indications registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 which came into force with effect from September 2003.The Act would be administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks– who is the Registrar of Geographical Indications under Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade, which is in turn under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry

  • The term “geographical indications”, in its broad sense, includes a variety of concepts used in international treaties and national/regional jurisdictions, such as: appellation of origin (AO), protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI). 

For instance

  • “Appellation of origin” is defined in the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration and in the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications.
  • “Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)” and “Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)” are terms used within the European Union.
  • Protected designation of origin (PDO): Product names registered as PDO are those that have the strongest links to the place in which they are made.

Specifications: Every part of the production, processing and preparation process must take place in the specific region.

Products: food, agricultural products and wines.

  • Protected geographical indication (PGI): PGI emphasises the relationship between the specific geographic region and the name of the product, where a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

Products: food, agricultural products and wines.

Specifications: For most products, at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation takes place in the region. 

UPSC Prelims PYQ (2015)

Q. Which of the following has/have been accorded ‘Geographical Indication’ status?

1.  Banaras Brocades and Sarees

2.  Rajasthani Daal-Bati-Churma

3.  Tirupathi Laddu

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d)1, 2 and 3

Ans. (c)

UPSC Prelims PYQ (2018)

Q. India enacted The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 in order to comply with the obligations to

(a) ILO

(b) IMF


(d) WTO

Ans. (d)

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