Seeds Bill Update

The Seeds Bill was introduced in 2004, and is listed for discussion in Rajya Sabha this week. We had flagged some issues in our Legislative Brief. The Standing Committee had also made some recommendations (summary available here). These included the following: Farmers selling seeds had to meet the same quality requirements (on physical and genetic purity, minimum level of germination etc.) as seed companies. Second, seed inspectors had the power to enter and search without a warrant, unlike the requirements in the Criminal Procedure Code for the police. Third, the compensation mechanism for farmers was through consumer courts; some other Acts provide separate bodies to settle similar issues. The government has circulated a list of official amendments. These address most of the issues (tabulated here). One significant issue has not been addressed. The financial memorandum estimates that Rs 36 lakh would be required for the implementation of the Act during 2004-05 from the Consolidated Fund of India. The amount required by state governments to establish testing laboratories and appointing seed analysts and seed inspectors has not been estimated, which implies that the successful implementation of the bill will depend on adequate provision in state budgets.

Comments

Bimal Prasad Pandia's picture

Dear Sir, It is not true that the list of 'official amendments' made to the Seed Bill, 2004 has addressed most of the issues. In fact, the Bill still goes with out many pressing amendments. Some prominent issues not addressed include price regulation, compensation, penalty etc. Regards Bimal
M R Madhavan's picture

Thanks, Bimal Prasad Pandia and serial numbers. Regarding the issues that you point out: 1. Price Regulation. The purpose of this Bill is to ensure quality of seeds sold. It is not intended to regulate prices. That is done through two other Acts. First, the Competition Competition Commission established by the Competition Act, 2002 is mandated to ensure that there is no action by any person to restrict competition; predatory pricing, monopolistic pricing etc. are addressed by that Act. Second, the Essential Commodities Act empowers the government to impose price controls on certain items in the schedule to that Act; this schedule includes seeds. 2. Compensation. The Bill originally provided for compensation through consumer courts. The Amendment list provides for the establishment of a compensation committee and an appellate authority through rules to be framed by the government. The procedure, composition etc. are to be established by rules. The amendment bill does not specify whether this committee will be at national, regional, state or district level. Therefore, there is no clarity on access and procedural issues. 3. Penalties. Though the penalty has been increased a bit, I agree with you that a fine of Rs 30,000 may not be a deterrant. Thanks Madhavan
serial numbers's picture

I think some prominent issues not addressed
Seema's picture

Dear sir, I don't know why there is no discussion about the compensation aspect in case of failure of expected performance of the seeds supplied, in the PPV&FRA Act, 2001. (section 39 (2)) Isn't it enough that this provision is strengthened with adequate punishment for non observance?
R.Kapoor's picture

dear sir, Under the stressful condition farmers are facing , what is the update on the seed and the Pesticides Management bill? when do you think the bill will come before lok sabha ? regards kapoor

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