Union Cabinet clears Bill to regulate pesticide business

GS Paper III

Topic: Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management.

Mains: Pesticides Management Bill, 2020

What’s the News?

The Union Cabinet recently approved the Pesticides Management Bill, 2020, which, the government claims, will regulate the business of pesticides and compensate farmers in case of losses from the use of spurious agro chemicals.

Need:

  • 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.
  • However there has been 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.
  • Today the pesticide business is regulated by Insecticide Act, 1968 rules which have become age-old and need immediate rewriting.

Pesticides Management Bill, 2020:

  • Aim: 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.
  • 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 bill provides for compensating farmers in case of losses from use of spurious agro chemicals.
  • The bill also plans to regulate pesticides-related advertisements to check misleading claims by industries and manufacturers.
  • If required, the government will form a central fund which will take care of compensation.

Concerns:

  • State governments must have a greater role in case of decision making on pesticide management. The existing draft bill provides inadequate representation to States in both pesticide board and the registration committee.
  • The States should have a say in final decision making on pesticide, as they have the best understanding on the agro-ecological climate, environment and soil conditions.

Conclusion:

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.