Discuss the key thrust areas of National Seed Policy and seed bill in India

Seed development policy was introduced in India in 1988, to remove the roadblocks in the import of horticultural seeds and to allow the import of a limited quantity of seeds of course cereals, pulses, and oilseeds. After that the National Seed Policy 2002 was adopted to provide intellectual property protection to new varieties; usher this sector into planned development; protect the interest of farmers and encourage conservation of agro-biodiversity.

Seed bill

The seed bill was first announced in 2004 and then in 2010. The most recent updated bill was announced in 2019. The new seeds bill has been introduced to enhance seed replacement rates, specify standards for the registration of seed varieties, and enforce registration from seed producers to seed retailers.

Thrust areas

  • Development of multiple variables and Protection of the Plant Varieties.
  • Enhance the production of seed.
  • Assurance of Quality.
  • Marketing and Distribution of seeds.
  • Strengthening of infrastructure facilities.
  • Transgenic Plant Varieties.
  • Import and export of seeds and planting material.
  • Domestic Seed promotion.
  • Strengthening the seed and production monitoring system.

Provisions

  • Establishment of a Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Protection (PVP) Authority for the registration process.
  • Setting up a National Gene Fund for implementation of the benefit-sharing arrangement, and payment of compensation to village communities for their contribution to the development and conservation of plant genetic resources and also to promote conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources.
  • ‘Material Transfer Agreement’ of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources and the Biological Diversity Bill.
  • Establishment of the National Seeds Board (NSB) with the responsibility of executing and implementing the provisions of the Seeds Act and advising the Government on all matters relating to seed planning and development.

Comment

Even after so many provisions and thrust multiple problems have been faced by the farmers that include not allowing re-registration of seeds after the validity period, insufficient provision for the regulation of seed prices. The problem should be addressed immediately to experience the benefits of seed development.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Discuss the key thrust areas of National Seed Policy in India.

Published: October 28, 2015 | Modified:September 17, 2020

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