For the first time, a handmade tool from micro and small and medium enterprises in India has been registered for a geographical indicator (GI) tag, an official of a body promoting this sector said on Wednesday. The tool is a pair of scissors made of metal scrap by a community in Meerut, which is “the only scissor cluster in India” and which has been making the product for more than three centuries, Karamjeet Singh Saluja, Deputy Director- Intellectual Property Rights, Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME), IP Facilitation Centre, told reporters on the sidelines of an IPR awareness programme held here.

The programme focused on innovators, micro, small and medium enterprises and other industries. It was organised by the FISME, which promotes entrepreneurship and works to improve market access for these units. The IP Facilitation Centre, sponsored by the Development Commissioner, MSME, Union Ministry of MSME, facilitated the registering of the scissors for the GI tag. Sharif Ahmad, vice-president, Meerut Scissors Manufacturers Special Purpose Vehicle, and a seventh-generation craftsman, told The Hindu on the phone: “The GI tag will make a difference to us. No one else will be able to copy our scissors or misuse the made-in-Meerut tag our handmade scissors offer…”

The tag would enable the crafters to make scissors of standard sizes and of high quality, he said. At present, the size varies, from six inches to 14 inches, and the scissors are sold at a price ranging from Rs.20 to Rs.500.

Known for their sharpness, the scissors are used at home and by industrial garment manufacturers.

They can be repaired, unlike other scissors that are thrown out after use.

In the Uttar Pradesh Hindi, the phrase used to vouch for the quality of the scissors is Dada le, potaa barpe (a product bought by the grandfather, but which continues to be used by his grandson), Mr. Ahmad said, to underscore the scissors’ quality.

The Meerut scissors are made of carbon steel blades sourced from scrap metal found in cars, buses, trucks and railways. The handles are made of plastic, aluminium or alloys, which are sourced from old utensils. All the parts are pre-used. The first pair was made 360 years ago by Asli Akhun.

Meerut has 250 small-scale scissors-making units, employing 70,000 people directly and indirectly. Both the Central and Uttar Pradesh governments have helped the industry.

While men make scissors, women do the tasks that require handwork and pack the products.

They are sent only to the domestic markets, but the makers find it tough to meet the demand at home.

Mr. Saluja said the GI tag was given to products based on certain information submitted to the Geographical Indication Registry, Chennai: proof of origin, the GI map, the statement of case and the history of the product.

At present, the FISME, which is present in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore, is working to get the GI tag for three more products.