RSTV-The issue of Basmati Rice(In-Depth)

  1. The Delhi High Court has struck down the restriction on the production and cultivation of Basmati being confined to only seven states namely Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir were permitted to cultivate basmati rice.The restriction has now been a bone of contention for other states, one of them being Madhya Pradesh that has also asserted its right to cultivate Basmati rice.
  2. It has also struck down the decision to restrict the registration for Basmati varieties for certified and foundation seeds to areas under the Geographical indication for Basmati rice.
  3. India is the largest producer of Basmati rice with about 70 per cent share in global production.Basmati rice is seen as a superior and premium brand of rice across the country. The use of the aromatic variety of rice is more widely prevalent in north India. However, its cultivation was subject to restrictions on the grounds that the quality and the purity of seeds needed to be protected.
  4. The Court set aside two Government orders on the subject.The first one said that only Basmati varieties which are grown in the Indo-Gangetic region would qualify for certification.The second was a direction to ensure that the registration of Basmati varieties for certified seeds, was not undertaken outside the area indicated under the geographical indication.
  5. The Madhya Pradesh Government argued that both orders (as outlined above) were outside the scope of the SEEDS Act of 1966.
  6. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December, 1985.APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the scheduled products.
  7. India’s fight to safeguard the identity of Basmati rice internationally came to an end in February 2016, when it obtained the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.Basmati rice is produced largely in Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh and in neighbouring Pakistan- making these two countries the major exporters of Basmati rice to the world. India has always been involved in protecting the name, ‘Basmati’, as a geographical indicator.On the 16th of February, 2016, Basmati rice obtained the geographical indication certification. Earlier in 2008, the Union Commerce Ministry’s Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), had applied to the geographical indications registry of India, to acquire an exclusive commercial use of the name, ‘Basmati’ for the rice grain varieties grown within the boundaries of the Indo-Gangetic plains.
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