Punjab and Madhya Pradesh in Political War Over GI Tag of Basmati Rice

Punjab CM asks PM Modi to maintain the status quo on GI tagging for basmati amid the concerns over giving an advantage to Pakistan. Punjab and Madhya Pradesh in the political war over GI tag of basmati rice.

Capt. Amarinder Singh Writes to PM Modi

Punjab’s chief minister has expressed his concerns over providing GI tag to basmati rice of Madhya Pradesh. He said that GI tagging of basmati would adversely affect the state’s agriculture and India’s basmati exports. Further, he added that Madhya Pradesh does not fall under the specialized zone for basmati cultivation. Any breach of GI tagging areas will hit the status of the aromatic rice along with nullifying the ultimate objective of Indian GI tagging regulation. Besides, he mentioned the team of eminent agriculture scientists appointed by the government, which rejected the state’s plea. He stated that it is essential not to disturb this to safeguard the interest of farmers and basmati exporters.

Demand Rejected Once

Madhya Pradesh’s demand has already been rejected once. The state applied for getting the GI tag for basmati cultivation in 2017-18. However, the Registrar of Geographical Indications (RGI) rejected it. After that, the state appealed for the same in Madras Court but was unable to get relief.

Madhya Pradesh CM- Congress Working Against the Interest of Farmers

Countering Captain Amarinder’s argument, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan wrote to Sonia Gandhi. He accused the government of MP is working against the farmers’ interest. Also, he regarded Captain’s letter as politically motivated. Further, he ruled out any connection of the case of APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) with Pakistan. He explained that it has no relation to Madhya Pradesh’s claim of GI tagging. The MP government would move the apex court to challenge the ruling of Madras High Court.

Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, western UP, and some districts of Jammu and Kashmir have GI tag. The MP government has sought 13 of its districts for the same. GI is a sign assigned to a product that has qualities or a reputation due to its specific origin. 

In all, both leaders have expressed their concerns over the matter, considering farmers’ interests. 

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