The Bill has been drafted without considering views of all stakeholders, including farmers, industries, NGOs and government organisations. The Bill needs to be placed before an advisory committee of Parliament, he said.
The proposed Pesticides Management Bill, 2020 (PMB), the legislation slated to replace the Insecticides Act 1968, is riddled with lacunae, and thus requires in-depth deliberations by a Select Committee of Parliament before it can come into effect, the Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI) said.
Another body, Bharat Krishak Samaj, has also supported wider consultations, saying the current legislation, if implemented in its current form, may increase import of formulations, and will discourage export of agro chemicals, hurting the local agriculture ecosystem.
There are a lot of concerns and confusion prevailing in the pesticides industry about some clauses included in PMB, which, if not addressed properly, could affect growth of the industry in India, particularly MSMEs, said Pradip Dave, president, Pesticides Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India.
The industry already is struggling because of poor investments due to surging imports and taxation policies, he said. The Bill has been drafted without considering views of all stakeholders, including farmers, industries, NGOs and government organisations. The Bill needs to be placed before an advisory committee of Parliament, he said.
According to the technical committee of the CCFI, the registration committee (RC) in the PMB 2020 has powers to subjectively review the registration of a pesticide, and then suspend, cancel or even ban its usage without any scientific evaluation. “Such scenarios can disrupt Indian farmers’ functioning and productivity. Accordingly, an independent regulator is imperative to oversee the RC’s decisions in safeguarding interests of farmers, the crop protection industry and India’s food security goals,” said Ajit Kumar, chairman (technical committee) of the Crop Care Federation of India.
Certain key recommendations made by the Ashok Dalwai committee, constituted in 2018 to promote domestic and indigenous industries and agricultural exports, are missing from the PMB 2020. For example, the committee had recommended reduction in import and reduced dependence on imported formulations.
“The present PMB will increase import of formulations and will damage export of agro chemicals,” said Krishan Bir Singh Choudhury, president, Bharat Krishak Samaj.