Thousands of rural artisans in West Bengal who have been making various handicrafts for generations will soon get new stimulus through Geographical Indication (GI) tags.
The West Bengal State Council of Science and Technology has now taken up the onus of getting GI recognition for various handicrafts which are unique in character and have the potential to be marketed nationally and internationally.
Officials of the state patent office, said in co-ordination with the department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and NGO Banglanatak.com, they have recently applied for GI tags for seven handicraft products like ‘Patachitra’ paintings, ‘Dokra’, wooden mask, ‘Chhau’ mask, ‘Madur’ etc.
"GI tag acts as a marketing tool. Not only it ensures that the community from that particular geographical area gets a right over a product, but it also helps them to position their product in the market in a better way," Amitava Bhattacharya, founder director of Banglanatak.com, told PTI.
GI tag is an intellectual property right used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
Once granted by the Chennai-based Geographical Indications Registry, the tag will stop others from selling the product by claiming it is from that particular region.
The GI tag, owned by the community of artists and artisans, also adds an element of authenticity to the products and recognition to those making it.
Officials said these tags will increase the sales of the state’s handicraft industry.
Among the most prominent products for which GI has been sought is ‘Patachitra’, a form of scroll painting which uses vibrant natural colours and singing to tell a story.
The art form is heavily concentrated within a community of 250 artists known as ‘Patuas’ in West Midnapore district’s Naya village. While ‘Patachitra’ has gained some popularity in the last few years, many other traditional artforms are languishing.