Geographical Indications for Dairy Products in India: A Glimpse

By: Shivangi Rajput and Avi Shah

Abstract: –

Your ideas, thoughts, innovations and creations are all secure and safe by the virtue of Intellectual Property Laws. The intellect that produces the creations, ideas, thoughts and innovations in science, literature, art, unique marks, designs, origins and those which are sublime and awe-inspiring are protected under Intellectual Property Rights. One such branch under Intellectual Property Laws is Geographical Indication, which comes into effect when the goods are identified for the special status that they hold due to their uniqueness and region of their origin and identification is therefore granted to protect them. The goods have some reputation, uniqueness and region of origin attached to them. Just as Banarasi Sarees, which have their origin from city of Banaras, when one hears of Banarasi Saree, they have an image floating in their head of bright color sarees with rich gold, silver and zari work on them and have a reputation of these sarees that they are made of finest quality silk and opulent embroidery. It can be noted that the Geographical Indication tags are given to goods to protect consumers from deceitful products. This becomes easy as the consumers know believe about the goods’ quality, originality and specialty. The Geographical Indication extents to goods like agricultural, manufactured or natural goods, handicrafts or of industry and includes food stuff. Food stuff encompasses dairy products. The article is an endeavor to layout the particulars of the pdairy products which have received indications (GI tag) and are registered under Geographical Indications Act. As of now the count of such dairy products is four. The article aims to be illustrative in providing the stories and unique characteristics of four registered dairy products and the dairy products which have potential to get registered. The Geographical Indication Act protects the right of consumers and producers against exploitation.

Keywords: – Geographical Indication (GI), Dairy products, Geographical Indication tag, uniqueness, origin.

What Geographical Indication is?

The Geographical Indication Act provides with an indication to the goods that accord identity to the goods which includes agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured in particular region or locality of a country within territory of a country, any goods of handicraft and food stuff and such goods have a quality, reputation or other characteristics that are attributable to the goods geographical origin. Geographical Indication tags (GI tag) are given under Geographical Indications of goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

Indication includes any name, geographical or figure that represents the goods and suggest the geographical origin of goods.

For instance, the Geographical Indication tag to Andhra Pradesh leather puppetry clearly and unambiguously suggests that the art of leather puppetry has its origin from the territory of Andhra Pradesh.

The very famous Darjeeling tea makes one easily go with the fact that tea that is grown and cultivated in Darjeeling has a very special quality and also indicates that Darjeeling is the origin of this unique and the special tea and this is a very righteous indication.

Geographical Indication tags are issued by the Geographical Indication registry under the department of industry promotion and internal trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Intend and benefits of GI Act

The Geographical Indication tag acts as a product differentiator. In a way it contributes in development of the region where the goods are produced which is usually in rural areas. It functions as a protector of the traditional goodness and knowledge keeping alive the traditions.

Monopoly to the producers demarcated territory in granted all they need to do is obtain a certificate from the Geographical Indication registry and should follow the same process and ingredients.

The product became of high value amongst the consumer which needs no advertisement and could attract premium price and tourism towards the territory for the purchase of the goods.

Registered Dairy Products: –

Among the 17 registered food staff, four dairy products have also found their place.

  • Dharwad Pedha, Karnataka 2008
  • Banglar Rasogola, West Bengal, 2017
  • Odisha Rasogola, Odisha, 2019
  • Srivilliputtur Palkova, Tamil Nadu, 2019

Dharwad Pedha : 1st dairy product in India to receive GI tag

Dharwad Pedha received its GI tag in 2008. This origin is found to be when plague outbreak in the 18th century by Mr. Ram Ratan Singh Thakur migrated to Dharwad, Karnataka from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. He started making sweets for his earnings. Dharwad Pedha got its name based on the place and became famous. Locally, it was also known as line bazar Pedha, Babu Singh Thakur Pedha and Thakur Pedha. The history is 200 years old of making this traditional sweets. The Geographical Indication registry’s statement of case provides the uniqueness of the Dharwad Pedha.

The taste that’s special comes from the following practices:

  • Made by hands
  • Made by using milk (buffalo) and sugar, having no flavoring agents.
  • The Pedha has longer shelf-life than any other sweets.
  • Originates only from Dharwad city.

Anyone who produces Dharwad Pedha and satisfies that the production method of Pedha is as followed by the Thakur family. Can produce the Pedha in the demarcated territories of Dharwad. One has to get an authorized user certificate from the Geographical Indication registry for fetching benefits.

Banglar Rasogolla

Banglar Rasogola received its GI tag in 2017. The origin of Banglar Rasogola is found to be in Nadia district of West Bengal. Writes like Mrs. J Halder, book Bengal sweets and Pranav Roy in his book refers NabinChandra Das as inventor of Rasogola. It has been observed that they have history of more than a century. The Geographical Indication registry’s statement of case provides with the uniqueness of the Dharwad Pedha.

Unique characteristics of the famous Banglar Rasogolla:

  • Color white/ off white
  • Mouth feels smooth and delicate, and the spongy feature is unique.
  • Hardness is less
  • Cohesiveness is high
  • Chewiness is low (400-500gms of energy)
  • Sugar content 29-40
  • Starch absent
  • Moisture about 50%
  • Total protein 7.56%
  • Casein 7.08%
  • Calcium 117.3mg/100g
  • Total plate count 12000-23000 cu/g
  • Yeast and mound 12 cu/g
  • Salmonella sp. And Schiele(25g)
  • Coliform count absent

Odisha Rasogola

Odisha Rasogola got its GI tag in 2019. Odisha Rasogola has an origin from many centuries. An Ajodhya Kanda there are elaborations of serving Rasogola with other delicacies by Sage Bhardwaj to Bharat and Shatrughna when they both were on the way to get back Rama after he left for forests. A ritual of Niladri Biji where Rasogola is offered to Devi Lakshmi on behalf of Shree Jaganath is also followed in Odisha. Uniqueness as provided under the Geographical Indication journal.

Special Characterstics of this special food stuff:

  • Soft, juicy, delicate.
  • Have a non-chewy consistency.
  • No teeth pressure required to eat.
  • Caramelization of sugar is responsible for the white/ off white color of Rasogola.
  • No artificial coloring.
  • Cardamn powder and Chena made from local milk are essential ingredients.

Srivilliputtur Palkova:-

It got its GI in 2019. A Singh family brought as cavalrymen can be termed the originator of Palkova. They taught and introduced the skill of preparing Palkova to the locals of Srivilliputtur, Tamil Nadu. Later Virudhungar Co-operative society was seen to take the legacy of preparing this special Palkova.

They expanded the idea and also sold Palkova to courtallam and Theni which are the nearby areas. The love for the authentic taste and filling, nature of Palkova increased in all nearby areas.

Uniqueness given under Geographical Indication journal.-

  • Naturally sweet unadultered milk from local area used
  • No coloring, no preservatives used.
  • The milk is naturally sweet due to the rice and fodder intake of cows.
  • Original flavor of milk used with no artificial flavor added.
  • Cooked by using firewood burness and stones which maintains its taste.
  • The milk used is nutritious and the Palkova made is therefore a nourishing food for the body.

Prospects of dairy products to acquire status under the GI journal:

There are some dairy products which also claim to have potential to get registered and get a Geographical Indication tag.

Chilika Curd is one of such dairy foods traditionally prepared in a cup shaped bamboo basket using milk of Chilika Buffalo by ethnic community of Chilika near Lake of Odisha (Odisha, India).[1]

It is also found in a poem by Jaganath Purshottam Das that Lord Krishna with mil maid Maliki who had come to sell curd on the banks of Chilika, it was around 400 years ago. After Chilika curd doodh se bani Shikanji also known as Indori Shikanji and Sahi Shikanji.

Deoghar Pedha is prepared with Khoya and sugar often used as Prasad of Baba Baidyanath to improve its branding GI tag is claimed by Deoghar administration.

Kendra Para Rasa Bali is prepared with brown cheese cake soaked in sweetened milk.

Conclusion: –

It could be concluded after studying the above provided stories and explanation that Geographical Indication plays an important part in inclusive sustainable development of a territory and the goods of the territory, it helps in continuance of traditional foodstuff and dairy products. Consumers are attracted by the authenticity, originality and quality of the product being premium in nature.  But irrespective of the benefits of Geographical Indication there exist only four of the dairy products are registered and given the GI tag. Globally India is said to have a very high value in production of milk, consumption of milk and milk made products, there are many areas which have local milk that has various nutrients. The Geographical Indication for all such products should be registered.

The object of this article will be fulfilled if the readers have a fair knowledge about all the existing dairy products that are registered under Geographical Indication and about some of the products that have enough potential to get registered.


[1] India journal of traditional knowledge Vol. 12 (4), October 2013, pp. 707-713

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