Though the APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) has suspended the accreditation of two certification bodies due to irregularities in the certification procedures and lapses in issuing transaction certificates for organic products, the Government is unable to quantify the value of wrongly claimed organic premium by such certification agencies.
Replying to a query in the Lok Sabha on whether APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) has cancelled the accreditation of certain organic cotton certification agencies and imposed penalties on them, Anupriya Patel, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industries, said the accreditation of two certification bodies had been suspended in October 2021 and January 2022, respectively, due to irregularities in the certification procedures and lapses in issuing transaction certificates for organic products, including cotton, under the provisions of the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP).
APEDA supervises the functioning of National Accreditation Body (NAB), which is in charge of NPOP affairs.
Asked whether such wrongly earned organic premium by the certification agencies and traders has been recouped to the exchequer, the Minister said: “It is not possible to quantify the value of wrongly claimed organic premium due to these irregularities and lapses. The penalty imposed on the certification bodies, found guilty of these transgressions, is in accordance with the provisions of NPOP.”
Record cotton exports
In a separate reply, Darshana Jardosh, Union Minister of State for Textiles, said the country has witnessed a record export of cotton textiles during April-February of 2021-22.
Export of cotton textile (which includes raw cotton, yarn, fabrics, made-ups etc.) increased to $15.68 billion during April-February of 2021-22 as against $11.12 billion for the whole of 2020-21. India exported a majority of cotton textile to Bangladesh, the US, and China.
In reply to another query, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Railway Minister, said a total of 2190 trips of Kisan Rail trains were operated till March 25. Of them, a maximum of 1708 trips were in Maharashtra .
He said Kisan Rail trains have been introduced by Indian Railways to move perishables, including fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fishery and dairy products, from production or surplus regions to consumption or deficient regions. The features of the Kisan Rail include speedy movement ensuring minimum damage during transit; multi commodity, multi consignor, multi consignee and multi stoppages; and no minimum limit on quantity that can be booked.
He said the potential circuits for movement of Kisan Rail services are identified in consultation with Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Agriculture/Animal Husbandry/Fisheries Departments of the State governments and local bodies and agencies, mandis etc, Based on demand, rakes are provided on priority for running of Kisan Rail services, he said.
To a query on export of iron ore from the country, Anupriya Patel, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industries, said India earned foreign exchange of $2.69 billion (provisional) from the export of 21.94 million tonnes (mt) of iron ore during April to January of 2021-22. The export of iron ore was at 57.72 mt earning foreign exchange of $4.89 billion during 2020-21.