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Seeds

  • Overview

    Seeds Overview

    Seed is the most important and vital input for agricultural production. In fact, it is the most cost efficient means of increasing agricultural production and productivity.Seeds Efficacy of other agricultural inputs in enhancing productivity and production, such as fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation is largely determined by the quality of seed. Quality of seed accounts for twenty to twenty five percent of productivity. It is, therefore, important that quality seeds are made available to the farmers of the country. The Indian Seeds programme recognizes three generations of seeds, namely, breeder, foundation and certified seeds.

    The Department of Agriculture and Co-operation is implementing a Central Sector Scheme as ‘Development and Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities for Production and Distribution of Quality Seeds’ since 2005-06 for the whole country. The objective of the ongoing scheme is to ensure production and multiplication of high yielding certified/quality seeds of all crops in sufficient quantities and make the seeds available to farmers, including those in remote areas, not easily accessible by rail/road on time and at affordable price.

    Export of Seeds and Planting Materials

    In order to encourage export of seeds, the procedure for export for seed has been considerably simplified. As per the current EXIM Policy, 2009-2014, exports of all seeds are free, except

    • Breeder or foundation or wild plants
    • onion, berseem, cashew, nux vomica, rubber, pepper cuttings, sandalwood, saffron, neem, forestry species, Red sanders, Russa Grass and tufts and Seeds of tufts.

    The export of these seeds is restricted and is only allowed on case-to-case basis under licence issued by DGFT on the basis of the recommendations of EXIM Committee of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.

    Import of seeds and planting materials

    In order to provide the best planting materials available in the world to the Indian farmer and to increase productivity, farm incomes and export earnings, New Policy on Seed Development, 1988 has been formulated. Import of seeds and planting materials are governed by New Policy on Seed Development, 1988. The provisions regarding import of seeds and planting material are:

    • import of seeds/tubers/bulbs/cuttings/saplings of vegetables, flowers and fruits is allowed without a licence in accordance with import permit granted under Plant Quarantine Order, 2003 (PQ Order).
    • Import of seeds, planting materials and living plants by ICAR, etc. is allowed without a licence in accordance with conditions specified by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare,Government of India;
    • Import of seeds/tubers of potato, garlic, fennel, coriander, cumin, etc. is allowed in accordance with import permit granted under PQ Order, 2003 and amendments made their under.
    • Import of seeds of rye, barley, oat, maize, millet, jowar, bajra, ragi, other cereals, soybean, groundnut, linseed, palmnut, cotton, castor, sesamum, mustard, safflower, clover, jojoba, etc. is allowed without licence subject to the New Policy on Seed Development, 1988 and in accordance with import permit granted under PQ Order, 2003. A small quantity of seeds sought to be imported would be given to ICAR, or farms accredited by ICAR, for trial and evaluation for one crop season. On receipt of applications for commercial import, DAC would consider the trial/evaluation report on the performance of the seed and their resistance to seed/soil borne diseases. All importers have to make available a small specified quantity of the imported seeds to the ICAR at cost price for testing/accession to the gene bank of NBPGR.
    • The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation has revised the New Policy on Seed Development 1988 on 27.6.2011 to allow import of specified quantity of seeds of wheat and paddy initially for trial and evaluation purpose. Based on the results of trial for one crop season, the company may be allowed to import seeds of wheat and paddy for a period not exceeding two years subject to the conditions stipulated in the revised New Policy of Seed Development 1988.

    The import of these seeds is restricted and is only allowed on case-to-case basis under licence issued by Plant Protection Adviser on the basis of the recommendations of EXIM Committee of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.

    The EXIM Committee was constituted in the Seeds Division to deal with application for exports/imports of seeds and planting materials in accordance with the New Policy on Seed Development and EXIM regulation. The composition of the Committee is as under:

    • Additional Secretary (Seeds) - Chairman
    • Agriculture Commissioner
    • DDG (CS), ICAR
    • DDG (Hort.), ICAR
    • JS (IC)
    • JS (PP)
    • Horticulture Commissioner
    • Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Deptt. of Animal Husbandry & Dairying
    • Director, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR)
    • Plant Protection Adviser
    • Economics and Statistical Adviser
    • JS (Seeds) - Member Secretary

    The functions of the EXIM Committee are to analyze applications and furnish recommendations to PPA/DGFT for issue of licence for import/export of seeds and planting material.

    The EXIM Committee meets every month subject to tendency of proposals for import/export of seeds and planting material. Exporters/importers are required to submit 20 copies of applications for export/import in the prescribed formats. The minutes of the EXIM Committee are approved by Secretary (A&C) after which letters recommending exports/imports of seeds and planting material are sent to DGFT and PPA for necessary action.

    OECD Seed Scheme

    Government of India become a member of OECD Seed Scheme from 23rd October, 2008 and participates in the five varietal certification schemes viz grass and legume seeds, Crucifer seed and other oil or fiber species seed, Cereal seeds, maize and sorghum seed and vegetable seeds. SeedsOECD Seed Certification facilitates International seed trade. Joint Secretary who is in-charge of seeds, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation has been designated as National Designated Authority (NDA) and Ten State Seed Certification Agencies are declared as Designate Authority (DA) to operate OECD Seed Scheme in India. Seed Division convened various meetings, workshops, awareness programs etc., to operate the scheme from the year 2009 to 2013. Currently, 61 seed varieties from the public sector, covering 19 crops, are listed in the 2011 OECD. Seed Division has also forwarded list of 35 varieties in 6 crops belonging to private sector for inclusion in the OECD list of varieties. It is hoped that by 2013 more than 150 varieties from India will be listed in OECD list of varieties and to produce the seeds under OECD Seed Scheme for export.

    FDI Policy on seed sector

    As per extant policy, FDI is permitted up to 100% under the automatic route in development and production of seeds and planting material subject to certain conditions as mentioned in “Circular No. 1 of 2011: Consolidated FDI Policy” issued by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. The permission for FDI up to 100% would encourage infusion of foreign investment into the seed sector and would also facilitate indigenous seed companies for strengthening of Research and Development activities for development of Seeds of better varieties.

  • Programmes & Schemes

    Operational Guidelines on SMSP Under NMAET

    Sub-Mission for Seed and Planting Material (SMSP) under National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) will be implemented. SMSP will cover the entire gamut of seed production chain, from production of nucleus seed to supply of certified seeds to the farmers, to provide support for creation of infrastructure conducive for development of the seed sector, support to the public seed producing organisations for improving their capacity and quality of seed production, create dedicated seed bank to meet unforeseen circumstances of natural calamities, etc. The other Central Sector Scheme implemented by Seed Division, viz., Implementation of PVP Legislation has also been subsumed under the SMSP.

    Component details of the Central Sector Scheme Development and Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities for Production and Distribution of Quality Seeds

    The Department of Agriculture and Co-operation is implementing a Central Sector Scheme known as ‘Development and Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities for Production and Distribution of Quality Seeds’ since 2005-06 on an all India basis. The objective of the ongoing scheme is to ensure production and multiplication of high yielding certified/quality seeds of all crops in sufficient quantities and make the seeds available to farmers, including those in remote areas, not easily accessible by rail/road on time. The Scheme has the following components:-

    Component details of the Central Sector Scheme Development and Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities for Production and Distribution of Quality Seeds
    Name of the Componen Details of the component
    Transport Subsidy on Movement of Seeds This component covers North-Eastern States including Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and hill areas of West Bengal. The component provides for (a) 100% reimbursement of difference between rail and road transportation cost for the movement of seeds produced outside the State and (b) the actual cost, restricted to maximum limit of Rs.60 per quintal whichever is less for the movement of seed within the State from State capital / district headquarters to sale outlets/sale counters.
    Establishment & Maintenance of Seed Bank. In order to ensure that seeds are available to the farmers at the time of natural calamities like floods, droughts, etc. this component is implemented to establish a seed bank to maintain stocks of foundation and certified seeds of different crops / varieties which can be utilised for such contingent requirements.
    Under this component, grants-in-aid are released to National Seeds Corporation, State Farms Corporation of India, State Seeds Corporation, Kerala Seed Development Authority, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, etc.
    Quality Control Arrangement on Seeds This component deals with arrangement to regulate the quality of seeds under the Seeds Act, 1966 to strengthen quality control organisations like State Seed Certification Agencies, State Seed Testing Laboratories, Central Seed Testing Laboratory and Central Seed Committee apart from imparting training to officials engaged in the seed sector and for enforcing the seed law in order to ensure the production and distribution of quality seeds to protect the interest of farmers. This component also deals with the strengthening of National Seed Research and Training Centre at Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh). This Centre is accredited as Central Seed Testing Laboratory and acts as referral seed testing laboratory as well as a premier training centre on all aspects of seed technology to different stakeholders.
    Under this component, grants-in-aid are released to State/UT Departments of Agriculture, National Seeds Corporation, State Farms Corporation of India, State Seed Certification Agencies, State Seed Corporations, State Agricultural Universities, etc.
    Seed Village Programme To upgrade the quality of farmer-saved seed, which is about 80-85% of the total seed used for crop production programme, financial assistance is provided for distribution of foundation/certified seeds at 50% cost of the seed of crops for production of certified/quality seeds only and for training on seed production and technology to the farmers.
    The seed produced in these seed villages are preserved/stored till the next sowing season. In order to encourage farmers to develop storage capacity of appropriate quality, assistance is given to farmers for making/procuring of Pusa Bin/Mud bin/Bin made from paper pulp for storing of seed produced by the farmers on their farms.
    Under this component, grants-in-aid are released to State/UT Departments of Agriculture, National Seeds Corporation, State Farms Corporation of India, State Seed Certification Agencies, State Seed Corporations, State Agricultural Universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, etc.
    Assistance for Creation/ Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities in Public Sector. In order to establish/strengthen infrastructure facilities for production and distribution of quality seeds, assistance for creating facilities of seed cleaning, grading, processing, packing and seed storage is provided. Assistance for strengthening of the existing seed corporation with respect to above mentioned infrastructure is also considered on case to case basis. The assistance is available in the form of grants-in-aid for specific purpose of creating infrastructure facilities mentioned above only.
    Assistance is provided at the standard rate of Rs.22.25 lakh per seed processing plant of 1000 MTs (including construction of building and machinery/equipment) or multiples thereof. For construction of seed storage godown, assistance is provided at the standard rate of Rs.25 lakh per seed godown of 1000 MT capacity and multiples thereof.
    Under this component, grants-in-aid are released to State/UT Departments of Agriculture, National Seeds Corporation, State Farms Corporation of India, State Seed Corporations, etc.
    Application of Biotechnology in Agriculture. This component is being implemented for providing financial assistance for post-release monitoring of transgenic crops through State Agricultural Universities (SAUs)/Department of Agriculture of States/Krishi Vigyan Kendras, strengthening of State Seed Testing Laboratories for quality control of GM seeds, public awareness campaign through SAUs, scientific organisations/Institutes and for promotion of tissue culture through SAUs/specialised institutions/seed corporations.
    Under this component, grants-in-aid are released to State/UT Departments of Agriculture, National Seeds Corporation, State Farms Corporation of India, State Seed Corporations, State Agricultural Universities, etc.
    Assistance for Boosting Seed Production in Private Sector Under this component, credit linked back-ended capital subsidy is provided at the rate of 25% of the project cost subject to a maximum limit of Rs.25.00 lakh per unit on seed infrastructure development. Private companies, individual entrepreneurs, self help groups, seed cooperatives, partnership firms are eligible for subsidy. The component is implemented through nationalised/scheduled commercial banks. The assistance is for creation of infrastructure facilities relating to seed cleaning, grading, processing, seed treating, packaging and storage units as well as for seed testing facilities. This assistance is primarily for high volume low value seeds. National Seeds Corporation is the nodal agency for implementation and monitoring of this component.
    Promoting for Hybrid Rice Seed Production Under this component, assistance is provided for production as well as distribution of hybrid rice seeds. Production subsidy @ Rs.20/- per kg. and distribution subsidy @Rs.25/- per kg. are given to beneficiaries.
    Under this component, grants-in-aid are released to State/UT Departments of Agriculture, National Seeds Corporation, State Farms Corporation of India, State Seed Corporations, etc.
    Assistance for Boosting Seed Export Under this component, assistance is meant for obtaining the membership of international organisations like International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and to participate in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) schemes for the development of Indian seed industry and promotion of export of seeds.
    National Mission on Seeds

    The present Scheme requires major changes to adjust to the changed scenario. Some of the reasons for restructuring the present scheme and launching it in the form of a Mission are as under:-

    The existing Scheme has 9 components. It is necessary to make modifications in some of the existing components of the Scheme on account of the dynamism in the seed sector and the experience gained in the implementation of the Scheme. The components such as ‘Seed Village Programme’ and ‘Assistance for Boosting Seed Production in Private Sector’ and the parameters for seed storage, processing and laboratories etc need major modifications. The pattern of assistance in some other components also requires revision.

    The existing Scheme is being implemented w.e.f. 2005-2006. Seed production technologies are changing and new technologies like transgenics, tissue culture, soil-less agriculture etc. have emerged. There is greater emphasis on seed quality assurance particularly to safeguard the interest of the farmers. There has also been a significant change in the country’s socio-economic conditions. The economy has been substantially liberalized and the private sector is playing an increasing role in various spheres including agriculture.

    Sub-Mission on Seed and Planting Material (SMSP)

    The 11th Plan on-going Central Sector Plan Schemes (i) Development and Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities for Production and Distribution of Quality Seeds (DSIS) and (ii) Implementation of PVP Legislation (PPVFRA) are to be merged with the Sub-Mission on Seed and Planting Material with 26 new components on seed sector and another 6 proposed for Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PP&FRA), to be implemented during 12th Plan. These 26 new components can be broadly categorized into 10 categories viz. 1 component of Seed Planning, 7 components of Seed Production, 4 components of Varietal Replacement, 2 components for Specific interventions for public seed producing organization, 2 separate and 1 new component in Quality Control, 1 component of Contingency Planning, PPP in seed sector, provision for meeting cost implementing international treaties, National Campaign, Capacity Building, Innovative measures and 3 components of Mission Management. During the XI Plan period, Scheme relating to Implementation of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act(PPVFRA) had twelve components, which are now being extended to 18.

    Interventions proposed under sub mission on seed and planting material.

    The interventions are proposed under the following major sectors covering the entire seed chain from nucleus seed to supply to farmer for sowing and also the major stakeholders in the seed chain, both public and private

    • Seed Planning : containing one new component
    • Seed production :with eight components of which 7 are new and one component of Seed Village is proposed to be continued with some modifications
    • Varietal Replacement : containing four new components of which one component pertaining to minikits and FLD’s exists under some of the crop production programmes of DAC
    • Seed Infrastructure :where two existing components of seed storage and seed processing are re-structured to provide for modern infrastructure
    • Quality Control :The components under the existing Scheme and support to NSRTC Varanasi are proposed to continue with amendments. Two new components of National GOT facility and Seed treatment are included.
    • Specific interventions for public Seed Producing Organisations : Two new components for computerization and Working Capital support are proposed.
    • Contingency Planning :It brings in an ambitious element of National Seed Reserve (NSR) and proposes to continue the existing component of Seed Bank till such time as the Reserve is operationalised.
    • Private Sector :in which two components are proposed of which one concerning Public Private Partnerships is new and the existing component of assistance is modified.
    • International Co-Operation :where one is a continuing component and the other pertaining to Seed Export Promotion is new.
    • Other Measures :that contain existing components of Transport Subsidy and Bio-Technology in agriculture which are to be continued; an enlarged component of training and introduces 3 new components of National Campaign for Seed Promotion, surveys and local initiatives.
    • Mission management:containing provisions for operationalising the Mission.

    In all 35 components are proposed of which 4 are continuing; 5 are continuing with modifications and twenty six are new.

    The Planning Commission had earlier given in-principle approval to the scheme in July, 2010. EFC approved the Mission on 01.04.2011. The note on the National Mission on Seeds was sent to Planning Commission for Full Planning Commission approval. Planning Commission has now suggested a new National Mission for Agricultural Extension and Technology comprising inter alia a Sub- Scheme/Mission on Seed and planting Material. Revised DPR and EFC Memo for the sub scheme/Mission on Seed has been prepared and forwarded to JS(Extension) for appropriate action. Revised DPR with 10% State’s share was forwarded to Extension Division on 5.6.2012.

    Planning Commission has reduced/revised the allocation for the XII Five Year Plan for the Department. Accordingly the revised allocation for both the schemes of the Division for XII Five Year Plan is Rs. 1986 crores for ‘Development and Strengthening of Infrastructure Facilities for Production and Distribution of Quality Seeds’ and Rs.102 crore for scheme for Implementation of PVP Legislation( Rs. 2088 crores). Accordingly combined EFC with revised allocation is prepared and being circulated by extension division.

    Implementation of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Act, 2001

    Legislation for Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights’ 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. The scheme is implemented by Protection of Plant Varieties and farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Authority and autonomous statutory body corporate established under PPV & FR Act,2001 in November,2005.

    The main objectives of the Scheme are to provide grants to the Authority for its operational cost and implementation of provision of the Act and financial assistance to DUS Centres for developing guidelines of identified crops for Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) test. The functions of the Authority include registration of plant varieties to protect plant breeder’s rights, which would stimulate investment for research & development for the development of new plant varieties leading to agricultural development in the country, and to protect the rights of the farmers in respect of their contribution made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources The Authority is accordingly, taking steps for development of new varieties of plants and protection of rights of farmers’ and breeders.

    The following developments are noteworthy to mention

    • Registration is open for 57 notified crops namely, Rice, Maize, Sorghum, Pearl Millet, Chick Pea, Pigeon Pea, Green Gram, Black Gram, Lentil, Field Pea, Kidney Bean, Cotton (4 species), Jute (2 species), Sugarcane, Ginger, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Small Cardamom, Indian Mustard (2 species), Rapeseed (2 species), Sunflower, Safflower, Castor, Sesame, Linseed, Groundnut, Soybean, Potato, Garlic, Onion, Tomato, Brinjal, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Lady Finger, Rose (2 species), Mango, Chrysanthemum, Orchids (3 genera), Wheat (4 species), Coconut, Periwinkle, Indian penywort, Blong Psyllium and Menthol Mint.
    • DUS test guidelines of 40 New Crops / Species are under various stages of development.
    • The Authority has organised / supported 268 programs related to awareness and capacity building for different stakeholders. It has published literature for creating awareness in English, Hindi and other Indian languages such as Tamil, Malayalam, Odiya, Gujarati, Marathi etc. During the year 2011-12 PPV&FR Authority has sponsored 49 training cum awareness programmes on Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights.
    • Two Branch Offices of the Authority have been established and mde functional at Ranchi, Jharkhand and Assam Agriculture University, Jhorhat, Assam.
    • The Authority is operating the National Gene Fund constituted by the Government of India under the Act. The Plant Genome Saviour Community Award (five awards of Rs.10 lakhs each) has been instituted and is being awarded since 2009-10, to the farming community / farmers, particularly the tribal and rural ones engaged in conservation, improvement and preservation of genetic resources of economic plants and their wild relatives particularly in the areas identified as agro-biodiversity hotspots (22 Agro-biodiversity hotspots distributed over 7 agro-geographical zones). Plant Genome Savior Community Awards for the year 2010-11 were conferred on 23rd May, 2012 to four communities. In addition seven communities were also given the recognition certificates in the same function.
    • Recently, the Authority has also instituted individual farmer rewards (10 per year of Rs. 1.0 lakh each) and recognition certificates (20 per year).
    • Registration certificate of 347 of new plant varieties have been issued upto 31.03.2012.
    • 95 distinctiveness, uniformity and stability (DUS) test centers have been established in State Agriculture Universities, ICAR, ICFRE, CSIR & other reputed research institutes. Three referral laboratories for special tests have also been identified and supported.
    • Databases on Indian Information System as per DUS Guidelines (IINDUS – 2054 varieties) and Notified and Released Varieties of India (NORV – 7419 varieties) have been developed. Varietal databases of 20 crop species including inputs from respective crop directorates / institutes under the ICAR / NARS system have been compiled.
    • National Gene Bank for conserving seeds of registered varieties has been established in Delhi and Four field gene banks have also been established at Dapoli, Ranchi, Solan and Jodhpur especially for maintaining referral samples of perennial asexually / vegetatively propagated crops. Under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare,Government of India, the Authority has signed an agreement with Netherlands on capacity building and sharing of expertise. Such bilateral programs are being evolved with Germany and Australia.
    • The DARE/ICAR has allotted land to the Authority for construction of its campus in Pusa, New Delhi and the work is in progress.
  • Subordinate Offices

    National Seeds Research and Training Centre
  • Autonomous Bodies

    Autonomous Bodies
  • Portal of Seednet

    Portal of Seednet
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