The Jammu and Kashmir government has finally started a Geographical Indication (GI) registry for the famed Kashmiri carpet with a quick response (QR) code with details of artisans and the material used. The first ever consignment of GI-tagged carpets were exported to Germany from New Delhi on Friday.
The Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC), in collaboration with the Jammu and Kashmir Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom, held a seminar in New Delhi to raise awareness about the GI registration of authentic carpets from Kashmir.
“The QR code attached to the GI tag will help in reviving the sheen and glory of the Kashmiri carpet industry by certifying the genuineness of the hand-knotted carpets with relevant information of the manufacturer, weaver, district, raw material etc,” said Mehmood Ahmad Shah, Director, Handicrafts and Handloom, Kashmir.
He said this innovation would go a long way in preserving the quality of hand-knotted carpets. “Eventually, it would boost exports as they would be treated at par with the quality/price of Iranian and Turkish hand-knotted carpets,” Mr. Shah said.
Umar Hameed, Chairman of the CEPC, said the initiative would transform and preserve the future of the carpet industry. “The QR code label cannot be copied or misused. It will discourage the counterfeit production of carpets that cost the livelihood of the weavers’ community and the industry as well,” he said.
Got GI tag in 2016
The Geographical Indication Registry of the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry granted GI tag to Kashmiri carpets in June 2016 but the registered carpets were certified from this year.
Abdul Majid Sofi, a weaver, said strict labelling and certifications would safeguard the weavers’ interests.
Meanwhile, in New Delhi, Ranjan Prakash Thakur, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, flagged off the first GI-tagged shipment of Ferozson Exports Pvt. Ltd., Srinagar, for Germany on Friday. “This is the first step in the direction of authentication of hand-knotted Kashmir carpet. The journey will create a new milestone in the history of hand-knotted Kashmir carpets,” Mr. Thakur said.
The carpets made in Jammu and Kashmir are being exported to more than 20 countries. In 2020-21, carpets worth ₹115 crore were exported to Germany.
Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, President of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, urged the government “to ensure all support to manufacturers and exporters of Kashmir carpets”.