The Central Government on September 14, 2023 has announced the annual licensing policy of licenses in respect of cultivation of opium poppy in the crop year 2023-24 for the farmers of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
As per the general conditions included in this policy, licenses are likely to be given to about 1.12 lakh farmers in these states.
- This licensing policy issued by the government has included 27,000 additional farmers as compared to the previous crop year.
Maximum license given to opium farmers of Madhya Pradesh:
- Around 54,500 eligible opium farmers who have received this license are from Madhya Pradesh. At the same time, there are about 47,000 farmers from Rajasthan and 10,500 farmers from Uttar Pradesh.
- This figure is almost 2.5 times the average number of farmers granted licenses during the five-year period ending 2014-15.
- This increase is aimed at meeting the growing demand for pharmaceutical preparations for palliative care and other medical purposes both domestically and internationally.
- Additionally, this will also ensure that alkaloid production can meet the domestic demand as well as the needs of the Indian export industry.
Key Features of License Policy:
- Highlights of this Annual Licensing Policy include, as before, the provision that existing opium growers who have achieved an average yield of Morphine (MQY-M) equal to or more than 4.2 kg per hectare will continue to have their licenses.
- Apart from this, other existing opium gum cultivators, who have cultivated gum with high morphine content yield (3.0 kg to 4.2 kg per hectare), can now produce only concentrated poppy straw with license validity of five years. or chaff) (CPS) based method.
- Further, all CPS-based farmers for the year 2022-23, who have supplied opium to the Government but have not been deprived under any order or direction, will also have their licenses renewed for CPS-based cultivation this year. Is placed.
- The Central Government has given more relaxation in the general license conditions for issuing the CPS system to increase the number of farmers covered under this policy.
- The licensing regime for unlaunched poppy was introduced in a normal manner from the year 2020-21 and has since been expanded.
- At the same time, the central government has increased the capacity of its own alkaloid factories.
- It is moving forward to adopt good management practices in these factories and has already tied up with the private sector for processing of opium gum as well as poppy straw to increase opium processing capacity in India.
- The Government aims to further expand licensing for unlanced poppy.
- The Central Government has decided to set up a processing unit of 100 MT capacity on PPP basis for Concentrated Poppy Straw. This will enable India to not only meet its domestic demand but also export alkaloids and alkaloid-based products.
- The central government is continuously working on increasing demand and processing capacity in the country. With increase in demand and processing capacity, it is expected that the number of farmers licensed for opium poppy cultivation will increase to 1.45 lakh in the coming three years.
Opium cultivation in the country:
- After independence, control over opium cultivation and its processing sector in the country has been under the control of the Central Government since April 1950.
- At present all functions relating to the cultivation of opium and superintendence of its production are performed by the Narcotics Commissioner with subordinates exercising all powers.
- The Commissioner derives this power from the ‘Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985’ and ‘Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Rules, 1985’.
- The Narcotics Commissioner issues licenses for the manufacture of certain narcotic and psychotropic substances as well as permits and approves permits for the export and import of narcotics.
- Opium poppy can be cultivated only in such lands as are notified by the government. At present these lands are limited to three states – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
- About 80% of the total area under opium cultivation is in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh and Chittorgarh and Jhalawar districts of Rajasthan.