PIB – 15th Feb 2021

Sub-Mission on Seeds & Planting Materials: To Produce and Supply quality seeds to Farmers

  • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare is implementing farmer’s welfare scheme ‘Sub-Mission on Seeds & Planting Materials’ to produce and supply quality seeds to farmers to enhance production and productivity in the country through various components namely Seed Village Programme, Establishment of Seed Processing- cum- Seed Storage Godowns at Gram Panchyat Level, National Seed Reserve, Boosting Seed Production in Private Sector and Strengthening of Quality Control Infrastructure Facilities.
  • Major achievements under the scheme from 2014-15 to 2020-21 are as under:
  • Under Seed Village Programme, 4.29 lakh numbers of Seed Villages have been created  wherein 38.01 lakh qtls. of foundation/certified seeds were distributed at concessional rates to 170.86 lakh farmers.
  • To encourage farmers to take up Seed production of Pulses, Oilseeds, Fodder and Green Manure crops locally and make available required certified seeds at village itself, 1.05 lakh qtls. of foundation /certified seeds have been distributed at 75% subsidised rates  to 2.61 lakh farmers.
  • Financial support provided to the States to establish 517 no. of Seed Processing-cum-storage godown Units each of 500 Mt. capacity at Gram Panchayat level, for creating 25.85 LQ more capacity each for Seed Processing and for Seed storage, to make available required crop variety seeds locally to farmers to make them self-sufficient. 
  • Financial assistance provided for movement of 10.37 lakh qtls. of seeds for  making timely availability at affordable price of certified/quality seeds to the farmers of North-Eastern States, UT of J&K, Laddakh, H.P., Uttrakhand and hilly/remote areas of West Bengal.
  • Under National Seed Reserve, 17.01 lakh qtls seeds of short and medium crop varieties kept to meet the requirement of farmers for re-sowing during natural calamities and unforeseen conditions i.e. drought, cyclone and flood etc.
  • Subsequent to flood damaging paddy crop in Kerala in August, 2018, 3900 MT seeds kept under National Seed Reserve made available to the farmers for re-sowing, so that farmers of the State  didn’t face seed scarcity.
  • In order to alleviate malnutrition in the country, 71 bio-fortified varieties (nutritionally enriched with protein, Iron, Zinc, amino acids, Pro vitamin-A & vitamin-C etc.,) of different crops (rice, wheat, maize, pearl millet, lentil, mustard, soybean, cauliflower, sweet potato and pomegranate etc.) developed.
  • The breeder seeds of bio-fortified varieties have been allotted to the States for further multiplication for enhancing availability of seeds to the farmers in the country.

All steel to be allowed to be used for Highway construction, so long as it meets the required standards

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued orders that all steel – whether produced from ore, billets, pellets or melting of scrap – would be allowed to be used for National Highway construction, as long as it meets the standards required for specific grades of steel. 
  • The steel proposed to be used would be tested in NABL-accredited laboratories as a third party check before approval.  The move is based on the analysis and discussions with stakeholders and also technical opinion.
  • Earlier, the contract provisions required use of steel produced by primary/integrated steel producers only. 
  • In view of the increase in steel prices, which can impact the cost of building national highways, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari had suggested the need to re-look at all conditions which could be restrictive, without impacting the quality of material used for highway construction.
  • With this step, the supplier base for steel used in the construction of national highways would increase, leading to more competition and better price discovery by the markets. This is also part of the continuous effort by the Minister to reduce costs through use of new technology, reducing restrictions on suppliers and making the procurement system transparent.