People First’ is our mantra : J&K LG

Jammu:  Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday said that Geographical Indication could be a game changer for rural economy and J&K will lead in GIs use for agricultural and handicraft sectors.

“GIs also has the potential to substantially extend wider benefits to rural areas while strengthening historical and cultural link between place & people”, said the Lt Governor after inaugurating two-day workshop on Geographical Indications (GIs) of North-Western Himalayas today at SKUAST-Jammu.

The workshop aims to sensitise all stakeholders on GIs, the oldest category of trademarks, identify potential products and formulate future strategy to empower rural communities.

Sinha lauded the efforts of SKUAST Jammu and Agriculture Production and Farmers Welfare Department for bringing experts of Geographical Indication, Intellectual Property Rights, experts, officials on a common platform to chalk out constraints and opportunities from the farmer’s and artisan’s perspective.

“‘People First’ is our mantra to speed up the pace of sustainable development. Special impetus is being given to create physical, economic & knowledge connectivity to reduce Rural-Urban gap, improving rural economy, and protecting the interest of small & marginal farmers,” the Lt Governor said.

In the last two years, unprecedented work has been done to strengthen physical, knowledge and economic connectivity. Several initiatives have been taken to bring socio-economic prosperity in the lives of farmers, producers and all associated stakeholders, he observed.

Besides ensuring sustainable livelihoods and generating more income for producers, GIs will also play a key role in protection of indigenous knowledge. It will help the particular geographical area to produce and sustain niche market products, the Lt Governor added.

Highlighting the significance of Geographical Indications in the 21st century economy, the Lt Governor said, the UT Government is making dedicated efforts for GI tagging of niche and premium local products and helping them to create their distinctive identity.

GI Tagging of Kashmir’s Saffron, hand knotted carpets, papier mache and several other products resulted in huge success for local producers. GI Tagging of several other products are in the pipeline which will bring socio-economic prosperity in respective areas, he added.

Since GIs denote the origin and the quality of products, our aim is to establish local brands in the global market through effective brand & marketing strategy. Other mechanisms are also being evolved to address the challenges faced by producers, the Lt Governor further added.

J&K administration is making concerted efforts to increase productivity through infusion of traditional knowledge, modern science and technology. Promotion of Agro-processing industries, creation of better market-linkages, contribution of cooperative societies, universities & experts, strong system of e-governance, e-delivery mechanism, has eliminated the bottlenecks and providing new impetus for the development, added the Lt Governor.

The Lt Governor stressed the need to document the impact of GIs on promoting the products. He further reiterated the government’s commitment to implement the Policy on holistic development of Agriculture and allied sector in letter and spirit.

Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary Agriculture Production Department said that the two-day workshop provides an opportunity to discuss, promote and capitalise the unique niche products of North-Western Himalayas.

Padma Shri, Dr Rajani Kant, National IP Awardee working on IPRs/GIs in his address informed that there is probability of GI tagging of nine products of Jammu and Kashmir by March 2023.

Padma Shri Dr VP Singh, former Head, Division of Genetics, ICAR-IARI speaking on the occasion threw light on the development of different varieties of Basmati.

Prof J P Sharma, VC SKUAST Jammu and Prof Nazir Ganai, VC SKUAST Kashmir also spoke on the occasion and shared the efforts to promote local niche agri-products and the products identified for GI tagging.

The Lt Governor also inaugurated an exhibition on potential indigenous products which can be registered for GIs and inspected stalls displaying around 40 unique and niche products of Jammu Kashmir installed by the entrepreneurs and the government departments.

A publication on IPR: Registration and Protection was also released on the occasion.

Mandeep Kaur, Commissioner/Secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Officers of UT administration, resource persons, experts, besides other dignitaries, farmers, various stakeholders and students were present.