New Delhi: The government on Wednesday approved additional amendments to the Seeds Bill, 2004 that includes raising penalties for offences like sale of spurious seeds.
“The Union Cabinet today approved moving additional amendments to the Seeds Bill, 2004,” an official release said.
The additional amendments provided for submission of seed related periodic returns to state governments and enhancement in penalties of offences, it added.
In March, the Cabinet had approved the Seeds Bill, 2004 that seeks to regulate the quality of hybrid seeds and check the sale of spurious seeds in the country, besides increasing private participation in seed production and distribution.
The government has also included a provision to nominate chairperson of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Authority and National Bio-diversity Authority to the Central Seed Committee.
The Bill seeks to repeal and replace existing Seeds Act, 1966, for it does not deal with the quality control of GM seeds, as they are generally not notified.
“The provisions will be implemented only after the Bill becomes an Act. The rules under the Act shall be notified at the earliest, after the enactment of the proposed legislation,” the statement said.
The legislation seeks to regulate the quality of seeds and planting materials, curb the sale of spurious and poor quality seeds, increase private participation in seed production and distribution, and liberalise imports of seeds.
Provisions of labelling, seed health, expected performance and compensation to farmers have been included to ensure public accountability.
Innovations include compulsory registration, enabling government to exclude certain varieties of seeds on ground of public health, environment, provision for expected performance, seed health and farmer’s compensation, etc.