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Pesticides Management Bill needs more consultations, say farm experts

The bill, which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in March this year, seeks to protect the interest of farmers and ensure they get safe and effective pesticides

Pesticides Management Bill needs more consultations, say farm experts

Singh said pesticides play an important role in increasing agricultural productivity and preventing crop losses.

Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Pesticides Management Bill (PMB), which is pending in Parliament for passage, should be sent to a standing committee or select panel for further consultations with stakeholders as the proposed law has several loopholes, according to farm experts.
Earlier this year, the Union Cabinet approved the Pesticides Management Bill, 2020, to regulate the business of pesticides and compensate farmers in case of losses from usage of spurious agro-chemicals.
The bill, which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in March this year, seeks to protect the interest of farmers and ensure they get safe and effective pesticides.
Stating that the bill in the present form was not based on scientific facts, R B Singh, former president of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), said the registration process of pesticides should be made time-bound and online to make it transparent.
He was speaking at a webinar organised by the All India Kisan Coordination Committee (AIKCC).
He also advocated stringent punishment for spurious pesticide makers.
"The PMB in the present form is not based on scientific facts and does not adequately address the concerns of the farmers," Singh said, and suggested that it should be sent to a parliamentary standing committee or select committee for wider consultations with the stakeholders.
He said the government should include the recommendations of NAAS and the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS), which have been prepared after comprehensive consultations with all stakeholders.
This will, he said, not only enhance the credibility of the bill, but would also greatly augment the agro-ecological and socio-economic impact of pesticides as plant health chemicals.
Singh said pesticides play an important role in increasing agricultural productivity and preventing crop losses.
"However, despite very low intensity of pesticide use in the country, less than 0.5 kg/hectare, against over 13 kg/hectare in China, due to their indiscriminate use, negative impact on the health of humans, animals, biodiversity, and environment are not uncommon," he added.
Singh said NAAS has recommended that the definition of the terms used in the bill should be unambiguous and scientific, the import and registration of technical grade pesticides should be streamlined and it must have adequate provisions for data protection.
It has also suggested "decriminalization of the system, but fixing differentiated accountability along the value chain", he said.
C D Mayee, former chairman of the Agriculture Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB), also stressed on timely and online registration process.
AIKCC's National President Bhupinder Singh Mann said: "The PMB 2020 is an excellent opportunity to replace the old Insecticides Act, but, unfortunately it has again placed farmers back under the banyan tree."

The proposed law must provide right to technology to farmers for quality crop protection by overhauling the regulatory system, he added.
AIKCC was formed as a coordinating platform of various state level farmers organisations, currently 28 in number.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sep 22 2020 | 8:57 PM IST

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