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Annual Licensing Policy for Opium Poppy

  • Crop Year 2023-24: The Annual Licensing Policy for Opium Poppy is a policy announced by the Government of India every year, detailing the regulations and requirements for opium poppy cultivation during the specific crop year.
  • Prescriptions: This policy includes various prescriptions such as the minimum qualifying yield, maximum cultivation area, maximum benefit for farmers, and more.

This topic of “Annual Licensing Policy for Opium Poppy” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

Highlights of the Policy

  • Increased Licenses: The policy anticipates granting licenses to 1.12 lakh farmers, which is 27,000 more than the previous crop year.
  • Distribution: The licenses will be distributed across different states, with the majority going to Madhya Pradesh (54,500), followed by Rajasthan (47,000), and Uttar Pradesh (10,500).
  • Retention of Licenses: Existing opium cultivators with an average yield of Morphine (MQY-M) ≥ 4.2 kg/ha will retain their licenses.
  • CPS-Based Method: Other opium gum cultivators with morphine content yields ranging from 3.0 to 4.2 kg/ha are eligible for a CPS-based (Centralized Procurement System) method with a five-year license validity.
  • Continuity for CPS-based Farmers: All CPS-based farmers from the previous year will continue with CPS-based cultivation for the current year.
  • Relaxation in License Conditions: General license conditions have been relaxed to increase farmer coverage, promoting opium poppy cultivation.

Significance of the Policy

  • Increased Licenses: The policy represents a significant increase, with 1.12 lakh licenses, which is 2.5 times the average number of licenses granted during the five-year period ending in 2014-15.
  • Objective: The primary objective of the policy is to meet the rising demand for pharmaceutical preparations, both domestically and internationally.
  • Alkaloid Production: It aims to ensure that alkaloid production from opium poppy meets domestic demand and fulfills Indian export requirements.

Where Does Opium Poppy Cultivation Occur?

  • States: Opium poppy cultivation is restricted to government-notified tracts in states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Major Cultivation Areas: Major cultivation areas include Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh and Chittorgarh and Jhalawar in Rajasthan.

When Was the Licensing System Initiated?

  • Initiation: The licensing system for opium poppy cultivation was initiated in the year 2020-21 and has been expanded since then.

Key Facts About Central Government’s Measures

  • Augmented Capacity: The Central Government has augmented the capacity of alkaloid factories to meet the demand for alkaloids derived from opium poppy.
  • Good Management Practices: Good Management Practices are being adopted to ensure responsible cultivation and processing.
  • Private Sector Engagement: The government has engaged with the private sector for opium gum and poppy straw processing, enhancing the efficiency of the supply chain.
  • Expansion Plans: There is a plan to expand licensing for unlanced poppy cultivation, further boosting production.
  • New Unit: A 100MT capacity unit for Concentrate of Poppy Straw is being set up on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis with the aim of meeting domestic demand and boosting exports.

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