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Seeds are a critical and basic input for enhancing agricultural production and productivity in different agro-climatic regions. Indian seed programme largely adheres to the limited generation system for seed multiplication. The system recognizes three generations, namely, 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.

Indian seed programme includes the participation of Central and State governments, Indian Council of Agricultural (ICAR), State Agricultural Universities (SAU) system, Public sector, cooperative sector and private sector institutions. Seed sector in India consists of two national level corporations i.e. National Seeds Corporation (NSC) and State Farms Corporation of India (SFCI), 15 State Seed Corporations (SSCs) and about 100 major seed companies. For quality control and certification, there are 22 State Seed Certification Agencies (SSCAs) and 104 state Seed Testing Laboratories (SSTLs). 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.

Legislative Framework and Policy

The Seeds Act, 1966 provides for the legislative framework for regulation of quality control of seeds sold in the country. The Central Seed Committee (CSC) and the Central Seed Certification Board (CSCB) are apex agencies set up under the Act to deal with all matters relating to administration of the Act and quality control of seeds. The proposed Seeds Bill 2004 has been approved by the Cabinet for moving official amendment.

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 the Open General License (OGL) except the seeds of wild varieties, germplasms, breeder seeds, and upon seeds which are on restricted list under the new Export and Import Policy 2002-07.

Schemes of the Seed Division

  1. This Department have launched a Central Sector Scheme namely, "Development and Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities for Production and Distribution of Quality Seeds" from the year 2005-06. The main components are quality control arrangements on seeds, transport subsidy on movement of seeds to North-East and other hilly areas, establishment and maintenance of Seed Bank, Seed Village Scheme, assistance for creation of infrastructure facilities, assistance for boosting seed production in private sector, Human Resources Development, assistance for seed export, propagation of application of biotechnology in agriculture, promotion of use of hybrid seeds of rice and evaluation/review.
  2. Implementation of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Legislation: In order to fulfill the obligations under Article 27(3)b of Trade Related Aspects of the Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement of the World Trade Organizations (WTO), to which India has ratified, the Legislation for Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights (PPV&FR) was enacted in year 2001. The Legislation provides for the establishment of an effective system for protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants. With a view to provide necessary backup support for implementation of the Legislation i.e. PPV & FR Act, 2001, a Central Sector Scheme is under implementation. The scheme is now implemented by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights (PPV&FR) authority established on 11th November, 2005, under the provision of the Act. The Authority is in process of registration of plant varieties in respect of 14 selected crops. The National draft guidelines for the conduct of tests for Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) for selected 35 crops have been finalized. The main objective of the scheme is to provide financial support for functioning of PPV&FR Authority and financial assistance for developing DUS test guidelines for crops and strengthening and equipping the DUS centers and identified institutions.

In the 11th Plan, the scheme is proposed to have 12 components with an outlay of Rs.120.00 crore for implementation of PPV&FR Act. Accordingly, there is a target of setting up of two branch office of the Authority and establishment of Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Appellate Tribunal besides other projections in 11th plan period.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 07-01-2011