`Save Kashmir handicrafts, buy only GI-tagged products’: J&K government launches massive campaign against fakes

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir government has launched a massive media blitzkrieg to motivate customers to buy only GI-tagged handicrafts in a bid to counter fakes and misbranding.

The campaign has been launched across the country to help buyers identify originals from fake Kashmir handicrafts.

“We are the only place where all crafts have been tabbed. Now is the time that we should launch a campaign for GI promotion. We have started the campaign. We are giving advertisements in print and electronic media wherein we will ask customers to buy GI-tagged merchandise. We will also make shopkeepers aware about the GI tagged goods,” Mehmood Ahmad Shah, Handicrafts and Handloom, Kashmir, told The Kashmir Monitor.

So far seven major crafts including Kani Shawl, Pashmina, Sozni, Paper-Machie, Walnut Wood Carving, Khatamband, and Hand Knotted Carpets have already been GI certified. Besides, the process of GI registration of seven more crafts including Namda, Shikara, Gabba, Willow Bat, Crewel, and Chain Stitch is already under process. The dossier for GI certification of all these crafts has been submitted to the GI authorities in Chennai. The government is also pitching for GI tag for 300-year-old crafts including Kangri’ andWagguv’.

“Currently, an advertisement campaign is on in Delhi. We are requesting people that they should purchase GI-tagged goods only. In the coming day, we will run a campaign across the country,” Shah said.

The government has decided to hold 30 exhibitions across the country by the end of this fiscal.

From pashmina shawls to silken carpets and from chain stitch to paper mache, the government is going the whole hog to push Kashmir exports and make up for the financial losses suffered during the pandemic. Usually, during exhibitions, Kashmir shawls, and carpets are the major highlighters. This time, the government is focusing on creating awareness about GI-based goods to underscore the exclusivity of Kashmir products.

Official figures reveal that handcrafts worth Rs 375.97 crore have been exported from April- September 2022. Of which shawls and rumals worth Rs 186.45 crore were exported to different countries. It was followed by carpets with exports touching Rs 91.08 crore.

Likewise paper mache worth Rs 3.38 crore; chain stitch, and crewel worth Rs 65.13 crore, and wood carving worth Rs 1.75 crore were exported in the last two quarters. Other handcraft products worth Rs 28.18 crore were also exported during that period.

In 2021-22, handicrafts products worth 563.13 crore were exported to different markets. Carpets topped the list with exports touching Rs 251.06 crore. It was followed by shawls and rumals with exports touching Rs 165.98 crore.

Likewise, paper mache worth Rs 13.25 crore, chain stitch and crewel worth Rs 79.56 crore, and wood carving worth Rs 4.20 crore were exported in the last two quarters. Other handcraft products worth Rs 49.08 crore were also exported in the last fiscal.__The Kashmir Monitor