On the Occasion of the 39th AGM, the CropLife India Chairman Rajendra Velagala said that the Government must address the industry’s concerns in the Pesticides Management Bill, likely to be passed in the forthcoming Winter Session of Parliament.
The Pesticide Management Bill, which will replace the Insecticides Act, 1968, seeks to regulate the pesticide sector by fixing prices and setting up a regulatory authority.
“The government should address industry’s concerns in the Pesticides Management Bill,” Velagala said while addressing the company’s 39th Annual General Meeting. Government should also bring in data protection and align with best international practices and regulatory reforms by reducing registration timelines of crop protection products, he said.
Proposed as a step towards promoting safe use of pesticides, this Bill seeks to regulate the manufacture, inspection, testing and distribution of pesticides. It establishes a system of licensing as well as the setting up of a registration committee to register pesticides.
Highlights of Bill
The Bill replaces the Insecticides Act, 1968. It defines a pesticide as a substance used to destroy or control the spread of pests in agricultural commodities or animal feed. The Bill sets criteria by which a pesticide is to be classified as misbranded, sub-standard, or spurious.
The Bill establishes a Central Pesticides Board to advise the government on matters related to pesticide regulation, manufacture, use and disposal. It establishes a registration committee to register pesticides.
No pesticide can be registered unless tolerance limits for its residues on crops and commodities are specified under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The Bill establishes a procedure to licence manufacturers, distributors and retailers of pesticides, to be administered by state governments. Pesticide inspectors shall inspect facilities and collect pesticide samples while pesticide analysts shall test the samples collected.
The Bill defines a pesticide as any substance used to destroy or control pests in agricultural commodities or animal feeds. Pesticides used for non-agricultural purposes, such as health care, are thus excluded from this definition. The Parliamentary Standing Committee has recommended that a broader definition be used.
The tolerance limits for pesticides are to be specified according to the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. However, the relevant provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act have yet to be brought into force.
Pesticides registered under the Insecticides Act, 1968, are automatically deemed to be registered under the Bill. Tolerance limits have not been specified for some of these pesticides.
The Bill does not specify penalties for pesticide inspectors or analysts who misuse their powers. The Standing Committee has recommended that penalties be imposed on such government officers along the lines of similar provisions in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 or the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
By Chander Mohan