The Great Mission Group Consultancy (GMGC) is responsible for registering nearly a tenth of India’s Geographical Indication (GI) tags, a name or sign used on certain products that corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin. The GI tag ensures that no one else other than authorized users are allowed to use the product name. The firm’s Founder and Chairman, Prof. Ganesh Hingmire, tells Education Post’s Tanay Kumar about the significance of GI tagging in the Indian economy.
You have done your postgraduation in law from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. Did you find any differences in the pedagogy and curriculum there if you were to compare it with the study of law in India?
The LL.M. is a two-year course in India while the UK offers a one-year LL.M. program. While I was doing my postgraduation at Cardiff, there was an ongoing trend called “super-specialization.” I completed my LL.M. in Commercial Law with super-specialization in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). This subject (IPR) was almost non-existent in most Indian universities. When I did my LL.B. from the India Law Society’s Law College in Pune in 1998, hardly anyone had chosen to study IPR, which was the reason I chose to study it in the UK.
At least back in 2000, one year in postgraduation in the UK was equivalent to doing a three-year course in India. I remember we were swamped with assignments, so much so that we barely had enough time to eat. Moreover, research is highly focused in the British higher education system along with big emphasis on originality, co-relation between old and new research/papers/data and conclusions in the assignments and answers. Plus, UK has a three-semester system, while there are many institutions in India that have a two-semester system and a few have a full-year-examination pattern.
After doing law, why did you choose to pursue M. Phil in economics?
A combination of science, social law, law and economics immensely helps in nation building through IPR. One needs to study science if it comes to patents because one must know the scientific name of that particular GI product. And since IPR involves economics in a big way, I chose to complete my M. Phil in economics.
The Great Mission Group Consultancy provides training in IPR. Please tell us about it.
Our group is dedicated to providing socio-economic tools in the context of IPR for India. We started this group to impart IPR training in reference to Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This agreement is not merely theoretical. As far as IPR is concerned, we started GMGC in two areas: to help firms, companies or individuals register their intellectual properties, their patents and to provide training to enthusiasts on how to register IPR for other firms as well. Since I have studied the entire process based on WTO norms, we provide training in the relevance to TRIPS with all regular updates as they are the starting point in IPR.
In any country, laws are based on three methods. First, there are laws that have existed since the colonial days, such as contracts, evidence etc. Second are laws that are drafted by the parliament of the country or their respective Supreme Courts in some cases. The third are laws that exist via international treaties and pacts. IPR falls in the third category. For example, patents would always be international. So, we keep following the updates of WTO and other IPR organizations to keep on inculcating them in our training.
How many crops and products are still to attain the GI tag in India?
GI was introduced in India in 2001 and the first such product to attain the GI tag was Darjeeling Tea in 2003. Our mission is to empower genuine producers and artisans for their originality, traceability and rewards for their GI based products and goods. For example, there must be a method to detect the originality of a Varanasi sari so that genuine producers of the sari could get proper profits for their work.
Currently, India has around 430 registered GI products, out of which around 125 are agricultural crops. When it comes to the number of GI crops and goods, China has over 7,000 GI products while the European Union has over 70,000. Germany holds more than 17,000 GI products, out of which over 40 percent are agricultural.
There are different geographical products at a gap of every 30-40 km. So, as per my calculation, India surely has over 10,000 potential GI products and goods that are yet to be registered.
We have been constantly suggesting the Maharashtra and Indian government to actively look for GI goods and crops and have also provided them with a list of such products we have detected.
In the context of GI marking, how do you see India’s economic potential in the formal study of food processing, food technology and the big food industry?
We had registered Jalgaon Brinjal and now it is included in the menu of Lufthansa airlines. We registered Mangalwedha Jowar, which is also known as Maldandi Jowar. Chaklis (cookies) made by Maldandi Jowar are gluten-free and they are in high demand all the time because of their delicious taste. Cows produce more milk if they are fed Maldandi Jowar and a considerable amount of Maldani Jowar is exported to other countries.
Gholwad of Maharashtra is famous for the sapota fruit (cheeku). We registered Dahanu Cheeku of Gholwad with its GI tag. Now, the people of the Gholwad are making cheeku powder, cheeku chips and even wine and exporting them to other countries.
Owing to its immensely rich food culture, India can really enhance its economy. We all know that probably every district of India is famous for its local food. I really see a great potential when it comes to economy via food diversity in India.
You are a voracious reader. Would you please recommend a few must-read books for our audience?
When I was about to get married, I told my to-be wife that I was already married. I was married to books. I read a lot. Anyway, my first recommendation would be the books of Ramakrishna Math as they infuse life lessons. I came to understand humanity at Ramakrishna Math. I read a Marathi verse in one of the books at the Ramakrishna Math, which said, “Pavitr Bhana, Aani Dusreya Che Hitkara, Hech Saare Upasane Saar Aahe.” It means that be pure in mind and character, be benevolent and do good to others, this is the summary of all of your holy scriptures.
My second recommendation would be You Can Win by Shiv Khera for motivational reading. I would really urge people to read our holy scriptures, even if it is just once. It’s my belief that Bhagavad Gita really provides solutions to your problems in life.
Next, you should definitely read books that teach you more about your own profession, as also those books that add values to your life.