RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has sought sufficient provisions to safeguard domestic manufacturing of pesticides in the Pesticide Management Bill (PMB) 2020 drafted by the Central government. The socio-political platform also criticised the provision to have a single body to register the pesticide and review its safety aspects and wanted a separate Review Committee consisting of bio safety experts to review pesticides, to avoid any bias.
SJM submitted its suggestions before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, which is looking at PMB Bill 2020 at the moment. The Bill, once enacted, will replace the Insecticide Act 1968. "India is hugely dependent on the import of pesticides, despite its huge potential to manufacture it. Due to faulty rules favouring imports, import of pesticides are encouraged against the interests of domestic manufacturing. Unfortunately, present draft doesn't include sufficient provisions to safeguard domestic manufacturing," Ashwani Mahajan, National Co Convenor, SJM says, adding there are many provisions, which promote importers' and foreign interests.
Mahajan also points out that the Draft PMB 2020 should specify that the Registration Committee (RC) shall not register a pesticide if the "Technical Grade" or raw material of the pesticide is not registered in India. It also wants to prohibit import if the RC is satisfied that the pesticide does not meet the claims of safety or efficacy submitted by the applicant and in cases where applicable maximum residue limits of the pesticides on crops and commodities have not been specified under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.
"Inclusion of these provisions in the bill would enable regulators to withdraw the 'Technical Grade' samples for monitoring the expiry and associated impurities. This would also ensure farmers' and consumers' security, environment and soil preservation as per the Indian standards," he said.
SJM wants assembly and repackaging to be distinct activities and not be considered equivalent to manufacturing as most of the importers are selling imported pesticides in different brands without value addition and threatens the survival of domestic manufacturers.
It called for provision for imposition of non-tariff barriers to regulate imports of pesticides, and safeguard the life of plants, animals and human beings. Strict provisions to not allow data exclusivity to the innovator company, adequate recognition, legitimacy, level playing field and registration processes for bio-pesticides and organic/natural pesticides have also been proposed.
SJM appreciated the government's effort to bring advertising, packaging, pricing, labelling, disposal of pesticides with the scope of the Bill.
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