GI TAG for Tamil Nadu’s Dindigul lock, Kandangi Saree

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Context: The Dindigul lock and the Kandangi sarees were given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by The Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai


A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which correspond to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country). India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15 September 2003. GIs have been defined under Article 22(1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights(TRIPS) Agreement as: “Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.”

Dindigul lock- Dindigul is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Locks and steel safes are manufactured in Dindigul and operated as a co-operative sector. Locks manufactured in Dindigul are sold in national and international markets and is well known all over India for its quality. Though machine-made locks are easily available, government institutions like prisons, godowns, hospitals and even temples use the older pattern locks. These lock manufacturing units are limited to an area of 5 km in and around Dindigul. There are over 50 varieties of locks made by the artisans. But over the last few years, this industry has been slowly dying due to competition from Aligarh and Rajapalayam. Marketing these locks has also been a challenge. Currently, this industry is worth over ₹20 crores per annum. 

Kandangi Saree– The Kandangi saree, manufactured in Karaikudi taluk in Sivaganga district, is facing challenges similar to Dindigul locks. GI tag for the Kandangi saree will help revive lost patronage. The market is flooded with sarees that are woven in other parts of the State and look like the Kandangi saree. The original Kandangi saree is manually made using a winding machine, loom, shuttle, and bobbin. It is a team effort of the families who live in the town of Karaikudi and it forms part of their livelihood. These sarees are characterized by the large contrast borders, and some of them are known to have borders covering as much as two-thirds of the saree. The sarees are usually around 5.10 meters – 5.60 meters in length. The Kandangi sarees exude brilliant colors like bright yellow, orange, red and a minimal black in the traditional pattern of stripes or checks with broad borders woven in coarse cotton. Over the years, more interesting colors have been introduced for the saree, which is worn in a particular manner.

Other GI Tags in Tamil Nadu:

  • Arani Sari- Traditional Saree
  • Bhavani Jamakkalam- Blankets and carpets
  • Coimbatore Wet Grinder- Wet grinders manufactured in Coimbatore
  • E. I. Leather- Indian vegetable-tanned leather 
  • Kanchipuram Silk
  • Madurai Sungudi- a cotton fabric of Madurai 
  • Nachiarkoil lamp-brass lamp, a handicraft product
  • Nilgiri tea
  • Salem silk
  • Swamimalai Bronze Icons
  • Thanjavur painting
  • Thanjavur Art Plate
  • Thanjavur doll
  • Toda Embroidery

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