The Centre has formally withdrawn the gazette notification of May 18 wherein it had capped the licence fee for all new genetically modified seed technologies and also sought to regulate the bilateral agreement between seed technology licence providers and licensees.
The notification was officially withdrawn on Tuesday.
“The central government, based on the advice of the Controller and after consultation with the committee referred to in sub-clause (i) of clause 5, hereby rescinds the notification of Government of India in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare) published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary Part-II, section-3, sub-section-(ii), dated the 18th May, 2016 vide S.O. No. 1813(E), dated the 18th May, 2016,” the notification said.
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The clause was one of the main contentious points according to licence providers. It required all existing bilateral agreements between seed licence providers and licensees to adhere to the new pattern within the next 30 days, failing which the agreements would be considered null and void.
The Centre has now decided to put the May 18 notification in the public domain for 90 days. Any action will be taken only after that.
The new agreement says licence providers will not have any say on choosing whom to give a licence and anyone who fulfils the criteria would be eligible.
The notification capped the “trait value” (equivalent of licence or royalty fee) for all new genetically modified (GM) seed technologies at 10 per cent of the maximum sale price. The fee will be capped for the first five years from the time the technology is commercialised in India, after which it will be lowered at 10 per cent each year. This was in addition to the retail sale price of BT cotton seeds, which has already been regulated by the government.
Cotton is the only crop in which GM technology is allowed for commercial use in India. Mahyco Monsanto Biotech Ltd, a subsidiary of seed giant Monsanto, might have been impacted the most due to the notification as it was the biggest licence provider of GM seeds in India.