India Pesticide Management Bill to be finalised in 3 months
Mar. 14, 2018
“With a focus to protect farmers and promote safe use of pesticide, we will finalise the Pesticide Management Bill very soon…in 2-3 months’ time,” said B Rajender, joint secretary, plant protection, at agriculture ministry.
Pesticides are important to increase productivity and reduce crop loss, he said at a conference on the issue organised by farmers’ forum Bharat Krishak Samaj on Monday.
Pesticide Management Bill 2017 is expected to replace the Insecticides Act of 1968.
The draft bill, released on February 19, proposed larger penalties on sale of spurious, substandard and misbranded pesticides and giving state governments more power to deal with the issue. It also had clauses for registration of new molecules.
Representatives of the industry, farmers, retail sector, environmental groups, and central and state governments who attended the conference on Monday said the bill needs more work and detailing.
Farmers pointed out the bill is not clear on liability and how will they be compensated at times when production fall due to use of spurious pesticide.
T Nanda Kumar, former agriculture secretary, said there should be clarity on how affected farmers will be compensated under the Consumer Protection Act, which the bill proposes. Further, the industry feels regulatory provision should be stronger rather than having an inspector raj, he said.
Ajay Vir Jakhar, chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj, said the definitions of terms like spurious, pests, etc. in the draft bill leave space for misinterpretation and unnecessary litigation. “Hope farmers’ viewpoint is not lost in face of perfectly articulated industry advocacy,” he said.
With the maximum punishment for violation during sale of prohibited or spurious pesticides of up to Rs 50 lakh and up to five years’ imprisonment proposed in the draft bill, the pesticide industry is concerned.
“The new Pesticide Management Bill looks like a strict version,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, MD at Insecticides India Limited. “However, we believe that this bill will be in the interest of farmers and industry both. The focus of the bill should be on the safe and judicial use of agrochemicals,” he said.
The industry also said the guidelines for registration and licensing of new molecules has become stringent.