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Pesticides Management Bill gets Cabinet nod

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A bill to regulate pesticides business and compensate farmers in case of losses from usage of spurious agro-chemicals will be introduced in the Budget session of Parliament, the government said on Wednesday.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved Pesticides Management Bill, 2020, which seeks to replace the Insecticides Act, 1968, for regulating the pesticide sector by fixing prices and setting up an authority.

It would also regulate advertisements of pesticides and provides for heavy penalty as well as jail term for any violation of the law.

"As far as farmers are concerned because that is our primary concern, Pesticides Management Bill, 2020 will be introduced in this session of Parliament. Today, pesticide business is regulated by 1968 rules which have become age old and needs immediate rewriting," Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

The minister said this is an important bill for farming community and yet another step by the government for the welfare of farmers.

Highlighting various features of the proposed law, Javadekar said the main objective is to protect the interest of farmers and ensure they get safe and effective pesticides.

"Secondly, he (farmer) will not get spurious pesticides. Because many times he is at the receiving end if he gets spurious pesticides," the minister said.

Javadekar informed that all pesticide manufacturers have to be registered under the new Act, once it is passed.

"Even their advertisements will be regulated that there should be no confusion or no cheating in any way of the farmers," he added.

Javadekar also said that if there is any loss because of the spurious or low quality of pesticides, then there is a provision for compensations. This is a unique feature of the bill, he added.

"The penalties collected from the companies and money put, if required, by the government will form a central fund which will take care of compensation," he added.

That apart, Javadekar said farmers would be empowered to get all information as the data would be in open source and in all languages.

"More importantly, he (farmer) will know about the strength and weakness of pesticides, the risk and alternatives and this will be an open data in digital format also," he noted.

The minister said farmers would essentially get these information from the dealers selling pesticides.

The bill also intends to promote organic pesticides.

Javadekar informed that a bill in this regard was presented in 2008.

In 2008, a Pesticide Management Bill was approved by the Cabinet and introduced in the Rajya Sabha. After that, it was referred to the standing committee on agriculture.

During the first term of the Modi government, a draft bill was prepared by the in 2017-18.

The draft bill sought to regulate the import, manufacture, export, storage, sale, transport, distribution, quality and use of pesticides with a view to control pests.

Other provisions included ensuring availability of quality pesticides, permitting use only after assessing its efficacy and safety and minimising the contamination of agricultural commodities by pesticide residues.

Pesticide companies would have to pay a huge penalty ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50 lakh for violation of any rules and regulations, according to the earlier draft.

The new bill also proposes imprisonment of up to five years, up from two years at present.

The second phase of the Budget session starts from March 2.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 12 2020. 20:14 IST