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Seeds Bill to be opposed in Rajya Sabha

Gargi Parsai

NEW DELHI: Having failed to reach an agreement with the government on the price control mechanism, Opposition parties, including the Left parties, Samajwadi Party and Telugu Desam Party, plan to oppose the contentious Seeds Bill, 2004 that the government is going to move in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday for consideration and passing.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has given notice for at least 30 amendments to the Bill on which there are major differences between the government and the Opposition members on the price control mechanism and the penalty (for failure of seed) clause. The Bill seeks to regulate the production, distribution and sale of seeds and requires every seller of seeds, including farmers, to meet a certain minimum standard. Farmers' organisations have opposed the Bill, which they say, has opposed the substantive amendments proposed by the Parliamentary Standing Committee. Mr. Pawar's meetings in July with MPs failed to reach an agreement on price regulation. “The amendments proposed by the government seriously compromise the rights of farmers and will lead to unrestricted commercialisation of varieties in the public domain including farmers' varieties,” the All-India Kisan Sabha said here.

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