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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 13 February, 2020

  • 3 Min Read

Pesticide Management Bill, 2020

Syllabus subtopic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the key features of the bill; pesticide production in India and the need for monitoring it

News: The Union cabinet has approved the Pesticide Management Bill, 2020 which will be introduced in the budget session of Parliament.

Background

The move comes against the backdrop of rising concern over the need to protect farmers from spurious and sub-standard pesticides, along with the need to assess their potential effects on the health of people and that of the environment.

Pesticide production in India

  • India is among the leading producers of pesticides in Asia. In the domestic market, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana are among the states with the highest recorded consumption.

  • The Indian pesticides market was worth INR 197 Billion in 2018. The market is further projected to reach a value of INR 316 Billion by 2024.

  • The significance of pesticides has been rising over the last few decades catalyzed by the requirement to enhance the overall agricultural production and the need to safeguard adequate food availability for the continuously growing population in the country. In India, pests and diseases, on an average eat away around 20-25% of the total food produced.

What is the bill aimed at?

  • The new draft bill is aimed at protecting the interest of the farmers, so that they get safe and effective pesticides.

  • Farmers would be empowered to get all information regarding the available pesticides, their strength, weaknesses, and risks from the dealers they choose to purchase the pesticide from.

Key features of the bill

  1. The bill seeks to replace the existing Insecticide Act, 1968, which the government said is “age-old and needs immediate re-writing".

  1. Any person who wants to import, manufacture, or export pesticides would have to register under the new bill and provide all details regarding any claims, expected performance, efficacy, safety, usage instructions, and infrastructure available to stock that pesticide. The information will also include details on the pesticide’s potential effects on the environment.

  1. The bill also has a provision to provide compensation if there is any farm loss because of low quality or spurious pesticides. The penalty collected from the manufactures/dealers and funds put in by the government would be used to form a central fund.

  1. All the information regarding the available pesticides would be available in the public domain, in all languages in digital format, so that farmers can make the right decision on their use.
  1. The bill also plans to regulate pesticides-related advertisements to check misleading claims by industries and manufacturers. The bill also seeks to promote organic pesticides.

Way forward

  • The draft bill has the opportunity to clean up the food and farming system of India, but needs to make the registration process more stringent for manufacturers. A complete overhaul of the registration process for pesticides is required, so that new registrations happen only when there is need and no safer alternatives exist.

  • The setting up of a compensation fund offers hope for farmers affected by poisoning, but they should not be compelled to take recourse to the Consumer Protection Act to claim compensation.

Source: Livemint


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