Grant of Geographical Indication Designation to Tirupati Laddu: Commercialisation of Faith?
Meghna Banerjee & Susanah Nausahd
Volume 3 Issue 1 (2010)
Geographical Indications (GI) are signs which identify goods as originating in a specific geographic location. Being a collective right, it seeks to protect the economic interests of an entire community of producers from a particular region who specialize in the making or manufacturing of a native product. Although many products of Indian origin such as Basmati are not adequately protected under TRIPS, at the domestic level India ensures that GI protection is uniformly available to all types of products. While such protection has the potential to bring about economic prosperity of marginalized sections of society, the conferment of GI status to products like Tirupati Laddu have raised concerns regarding the standards followed by the authorities while registering a GI. Critics point out that the grant of GI tag to the Laddu dilutes the very essence of GI protection and facilitates the commercialization of faith symbols by a religious shrine. This paper examines the controversial issues surrounding the conferment of GI designation to Tirupati Laddu.