India’s Seed Sector Reforms

1. Seed is a critical and basic input for enhancing agricultural production and productivity in different agro-climatic regions.
2. Indian seed sector programs largely adhere to the limited generation system for seed multiplication. The system recognizes three generations, namely, breeder, foundation and certified seeds and provides adequate safeguards for quality assurance in the seed multiplication chain to maintain the purity of variety as it flows from the breeders to the farmers.
3. Indian seed programme includes the participation of Central and State governments, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), State Agricultural Universities (SAU) system, public sector, co-operative sector and private sector institutions.
4. Seed sector in India consists of two national level corporations i.e. National Seeds Corporation (NSC) and State Farms Corporation of India (SFCI), 13 State Seed Corporations (SSCs) and about 100 major seed companies.
5. For quality control and certification, there are 22 State Seed Certification Agencies (SSCAs) and 101 State Seed Testing Laboratories (SSTLs).
6. The private sector has started to play a significant role in the production and distribution of seeds. However, the organized seed sector particularly for food crops cereals continues to be dominated by the public sector.
7. The Seeds Act, 1966 provides for the legislative framework for regulation of quality of seeds sold in the country.
8. In order to encourage export of seeds in the interest of farmers, the procedure for export of seeds has been simplified. Seeds of various crops have been placed under Open General Licence (OGL) except the seeds of wild varieties, germ plasms, breeder seeds, and onion seeds which are on restricted list under the Export and Import Policy 2002-07.
9. Schemes of the Seed Division :
1. This Department has launched a Central Sector Scheme namely, “Development and Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities for Production and Distribution of Quality Seeds” with an outlay of Rs.159 crore for the Tenth Plan. The main components of the scheme are
1. Quality Control Arrangements on seeds,
2. Transport subsidy on movement of seeds to North-East and other hilly areas,
3. Establishment and Maintenance of Seed Bank,
4. Seed Village Scheme,
5. Assistance for creation of infrastructure facilities,
6. Assistance for boosting seed production in private sector,
6. Human Resources Development,
7. Assistance for Seed Export,
8. Propagation of application of biotechnology in agriculture,
9. Promotion of use of hybrid seeds of rice and evaluation/review.
2. Implementation of Plant Varieties Protection and Farmers’ Rights Legislation: In order to fulfill the obligations under TRIPS Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which India has ratified, the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation have enacted a legislation for Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights. In order to provide necessary back-up support for enactment of the above Legislation, a Central Scheme is also under implementation. The required rules and regulations under the Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act have been notified in 2003.
The Protection and Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority envisaged under the Act has been set up w.e.f. 14 November 2005.
3. National Seed Policy 2002: The Indian government has approved a new National Seeds Policy to provide intellectual property protection to new varieties and set up institutes for the planned development of the sector will be vital instruments in attaining the objectives of doubling food production and making India hunger free.
4. Seed Crop Insurance :
The Scheme for Seed Crop Insurance has been introduced for identified crops viz. Paddy, Wheat, Maize, Jower, Bajra, Gram, Red Gram, Groundnut, Soya bean, Sunflower and Cotton in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh with a view to strengthen confidence in the existing Seed Breeders/ Growers and to provide financial security to Seed Breeders/Growers in the event of failure of Seed Crop, w.e.f Rabi 1999-2000 season. ‘Breeder’, ‘Foundation’ and ‘Certified’ Seeds of the crops of the Scheme covers all natural risks at the following stages:—
1.1. Failure of seed crop either in full or in part due to natural risk Loss in expected raw seed yield;
1.2. Loss of seed crop after harvest;
1.3. At seed certification stage.
Sum Insured is equivalent to the average of preceding three/five years’ Foundation and Certified seed yield of the identified unit area multiplied by ‘Procurement Price’ of the seed crop variety prevailing in the previous season by National Seed Corporation/State Seed Corporations. The premium rates for the seeds of Wheat and Groundnut are 2 per cent of the sum insured, 2.5 per cent for Sunflower, 3 per cent for Paddy, 3.5 per cent for Jower and 5 per cent for Gram, Red Gram, Cotton, Bajra, Soya bean, and Maize. (Source
5. Seed Bank :
This is a Central sector scheme for establishment & maintenance of seed bank and is in operation since 1999-2000. The Core objective is to make available seeds for contingent situations and also develop infrastructure for seed storage.
Salient Features:
5.1. Establishment of seed bank for maintenance of foundation and certified seeds of different crops to ensure timely availability of seeds to the farmers.
5.2. To take care of the special requirement of seed at the time of natural calamity
5.3. To create infrastructure facilities for production and distribution of quality seeds.
Scheme is being implemented through NSC, SFCI and seed corporations of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Orissa Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, U.P, Maharashtra ,West Bengal while the benefit of the scheme is available to the entire country. Seed of about 17 crops of various varieties which are suitable for different agro-climatic zones of the country specially for meeting any contingent situation arising out of drought / flood situation are maintained in the seed Bank.
6. Seed Village:
Despite implementation of the organized seed programme since the mid 60s, the seed replacement rate has only reached the level of 15% 85% of the seeds used are farm saved. It is, therefore, necessary to improve the stock of farm saved seeds for enhancing crop production/productivity. For this, seed production, seed distribution and other connected aspects will have to be improved and strengthened at the farmers’ level. To upgrade the quality of farmer-saved seed which is about 80-85% of the total seed used for crop production programme, it is proposed to provide financial assistance for distribution of foundation/certified seed at 50% cost of the seed of crops for production of certified /quality seeds only.
As per New Seed Policy 2002 The ‘Seed Village Scheme’ will be promoted to facilitate production and timely availability of seed of desired crops/varieties at the local level. Special emphasis will be given to seed multiplication for building adequate stocks of certified/quality seeds by providing foundation seed to farmers. The seed produced in the seed villages will have to be preserved/stored till the next sowing season. In order to encourage farmers to develop storagecapacity of appropriate quality, assistance will be given to farmers for making/procuring of Pusa Bin/Mud bin/Bin made from paper pulp for storing ofseed produced by the farmers on their farms.
7. Seed Bill 2004: The National Seeds Bill 2004 was referred to the standing Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, after being introduced in the Rajya Sabha in December 2004. The Bill seeks to replace the Seeds Act of 1966. The draft described the bill as one “to provide for regulating the quality of seeds for sale, import and export and to facilitate production and supply of seeds of quality and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”. This has provoked great controversy.
8. Legislation on Seeds Seeds in Indian agriculture are governed by nearly thirty legislations. Some of them are the Seeds Act 1966; the Essential Commodities Act, 1955; the Biological Diversity Act, 2002; Plant Varieties Protection and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001; Patents Amendment Act, 2005; Environment Protection Act, 1986; Consumer Protection Act, 1986; Geographical Indication of Goods Act, 1999; The Plants, Fruits and Seeds (Regulation of Import into India) Order, 1989 etc.
9. National Seed Plan: The National Seed Plan was aimed at ensuring seed replacement rate of 25 per cent for self-pollinated crops, 35 per cent for cross-pollinated crops and 100 per cent for hybrids for achieving higher productivity.
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  • sweetdanu

    very good information