The key normative goals of promoting agricultural innovations in most countries include: (i) Ensuring food security for the growing world population, (ii) meeting the nutritional requirements of this population, and (iii) protecting the environment, including particularly through the preservation and in situ evolution of agro-biodiverstiy, to ensure long-term sustainability of agriculture, and indeed, of ‘agricultural innovation’ itself. The thesis looks closely at the last of these goals (i.e. sustainability of the current framework/model of agricultural innovations) with special emphasis on the pulses seeds sector of India.
The thesis first studies the evolution of the science of plant breeding. Thereafter, it details the broad objectives underlying the adoption of plant variety protection laws by various countries (particularly India, US and EU) with special emphasis on India’s Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, 2001 (PPV&FR Act). The thesis also compares the objectives of the Indian PPV&FR Act with the objectives of the Indian Biological Diversity Act, 2000 and other related policies of the government of India to determine whether these fill the gaps (if any) left by the PPV&FR Act vis-à-vis sustainable innovation in plant varieties.
The thesis then studies the provisions and functioning of the Indian law (including through statistical and empirical analysis and through two case studies) to determine whether the normative goal of promoting sustainable innovation is being met in the current law and policy environment of India. The focal point of the empirical research is the pulses seeds sector of India and the investigations have been conducted from the perspective of the formal as well as the informal (farmer) seed sector.