India’s famed Kashmir silk carpets get QR code based authentication

Written By: Idrees Lone WION
Srinagar Updated: Feb 19, 2022, 06:55 PM(IST)

Kashmiri carpets Photograph:( WION )

Story highlights

The QR code will be based on a barcode which—once scanned through digital devices like mobile phones—can provide all the information about the carpet

Officials in India’s Jammu and Kashmir have rolled out QR code based process for the certification and labelling of authentic handmade silk carpets of the region, which are well known across the world for their craftsmanship and quality.

The Indian Institute of Carpet Technology (IICT) in Srinagar has started labelling the famed carpets.

The QR code will be based on a barcode which—once scanned through digital devices like mobile phones—can provide all the information about the carpet. Officials say that it is the first of its kind in India.

They said that the carpets are being labelled with QR codes so that customers get authentic carpets and not get cheated with fake ones.

The QR code will provide all the information like who made the carpet, where was it made, the manufacturer's name, the colours used, and pile height. 

“'We have developed a QR code mechanism for carpets, the first of its type in the country. You can now get all the details about the carpet on your smartphone before buying the carpet. The weaver, the manufacturer, the quality, the specifications, knot per inch, raw material, pile height, and the district where it has been produced,” said Dr Zubair Ahmad, Director, IICT.

“If a customer fails to scan the code, that person can check the authenticity by using the alphanumeric code on the label and search it on the website. It will provide all the details,” he added.

He assured that such QR code-based labels can’t be replicated or damaged.

The latest moved is tipped to benefit the Kashmir silk carpet industry that had to face a lot of challenges in the last few years.

“There is also some information on the label which can be read with the help of infrared machines. '' Ahmad added. 

The government has been working on QR code based certification for years.

The process began in 2010, when the government applied for the geographical indication (GI) tagging of the Kashmir silk carpets.

It wasn’t until 2016, that the carpets were registered under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999

The latest move is tipped to benefit the Kashmir silk carpet industry that had to face a lot of challenges in the last few years.

Carpets are being labelled with QR code to ensure that customers get authentic carpets

With machine made carpets flooding the market and being sold as handmade silk carpets, the industry received a big jolt and the customers had also lost faith.

The state government hopes that the QR code tagging will draw the customers more.

''Till now, we had no mechanism of certification, be it pashmina or Kashmir silk carpets. We started the GI tagging of pashmina many years ago, and now we have started the GI tagging of Kashmir Silk Carpets,” said Mehmood Shah, Director, Handloom and Handicrafts, Kashmir.

“The customers can now verify the authenticity of the carpet before buying. We are hopeful that it will also benefit many artisans who had left the craft,” he added.

Artisans, manufacturers will have to register themselves with the government before sending their products to the IICT for labelling.

The response has been overwhelming as hundreds of carpets are pouring in at the institute.

The government also plans to promote these QR code labelled carpets across the world, especially in countries like Europe, US, and the Gulf. 

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