Kashmiri Hand-Knotted Carpets Get QR Code-Based GI Tag
New Delhi : The Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) in Collaboration with the Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir conducted a seminar on ‘Introduction of QR Code based Geographical Indication - GI tag’for Kashmir Hand – Knotted Carpet.
Mr. Umar Hameed, Chairman, CEPC in his address said, "It is an initiative that will go a long way in transforming and preserving the future of carpet industry in Jammu & Kashmir. Customers now could easily differentiate and verify the authenticity and other specific details of hand-knotted Kashmiri carpets made in Jammu & Kashmir. The QR Code-attached registered logo stamped on the secured fusion label, possessing requisite covert and overt information, is to be embossed on duly tested/certified carpet so that label cannot be copied/misused. It will discourage the counterfeit productions of carpets that cost the livelihood of weavers' community and the industry as well."
It is to be noted that the Geographical Indication Registry under the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Govt of India) granted GI Tag to Kashmiri Carpets in June 2016.
Mr. Mehmood Ahmad Shah, Director, Handicrafts & Handloom Kashmir, Govt. of J&K, stated, "The QR code attached to the GI Tag will help in reviving the sheen and glory of Kashmiri Carpet Industry by certifying the genuineness of the Hand-knotted Kashmir Carpets with relevant information of the manufacturer, weaver, district, raw material etc.
This innovation will 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. Ranjan Prakash Thakur, IRTS, Principal Secretary, Govt. Industries and Commerce, Govt. of J&K joimed the seminar virtually. Emphasising upon the importance of this initiative, he stated, " the QR code-based mechanism will help in checking the duplicity or fake branding sabotaging the growth of the carpet industry in the valley. The carpets made in J&K are being exported to more than 20 countries. In 2020-21, carpets worth Rs. 115 crore were exported to Germany. Given the international export size and market competition, it is a prerequisite to safeguard the authenticity of the products for the sustainability of the local weavers and exporters."
A weaver Gulzar Ahmad Ganni who has been weaving Kashmir Carpets for last 40 years, said, "The craft of weaving carpets demands a great deal of finessee and patience. It takes months to produce one hand-knotted carpet and we feel discouraged when duplicate items are sold in the market. This predatory practice dents our business. I hope the new initiative will bring change."
Abdul Majid Sofi, another weaver of Kashmir Carpets cited the importance of strict labelling and certifications to safeguard weavers' interest. Both the weavers are considered as master of their crafts.
It is noteworthy that the Hon’ble LG J&K has announced the establishment of Carpet villages in Kashmir.
To encourage the youth of J&K, Central and State Govt. are providing MBA Degree in Craft and Management Entrepreneurship by Craft Development Institute. It will help the carpet industry of J&K to foster and capitalise the youth capital and their ideas towards protecting the heritage craft of Jammu & Kashmir.