In the interest of Indian farmers and Indian industries, the registration authorities should immediately stop allowing registrations for imports of Pesticide Formulations without registering its Technical Grade products in India. Pesticide manufacturers today demanded the centre not to allow foreign players to import Pesticides Formulations (PF) without registering technical details or information about the active ingredients with Indian authorities.
The Confederation of All India Small and Medium Pesticides Manufacturers Association (CAPMA) also demanded that the proposed Pesticides Management Bill-2017 should provide a level playing field for Indian companies, so that Indian farmer get benefitted.
CAPMA President Raja Mahender Reddy opined that "It is very relevant to note that FAO/WHO and other major agricultural nations such as USA, Europe, Australia, Brazil and China also mandate registration of Technical Grade Pesticides before granting registrations for formulations,.
"Over-regulation of exports of pesticides in the PMB can adversely affect exports," he added.
The draft of the proposed Pesticides Management Bill-2017 was recently released by the Department of Agriculture seeking comments from the stakeholders.
According to him, India imports Rs 16,000 crore worth of pesticides every year while the domestic demand was pegged at up to Rs 25,000 crore.
Pesticide manufacturers and farmers are up in arms against the provisions of the Pesticides Management Bill 2017, which, they believe are detrimental to agriculture and agro-chemical industry.
Allowing import of formulations without having to register technicals is contrary to the goal of Make in India campaign launched by the Union government, they said.
They want an immediate ban on no-frill import of formulations, which are flooding the market, while Indian companies are forced to go through a labyrinthine process to sell their products. “Excessive powers mooted in Registration committee could lead to return of Inspector Raj. They should be made liable for punishments in case of mistakes,” the Confederation of All India Small and Medium Pesticides Manufacturers Association (CAPMA) said.
“Punishments for violations prescribed in the Bill are disproportionate to the offences or violations. Even small mistakes could attract heavy penalties,” he said.
The association felt that the actions of pesticides inspectors should be under scrutiny and aggrieved parties should be allowed to challenge their actions in an appellate authority, it said.
The association estimated that the country was losing over ₹7,000 crore in forex by permitting imports of ready-made pesticide formulations.
“The policy guidelines created in 2007 gives total monopoly to importers, mainly multinationals to charge exorbitant prices from farmers for the imported pesticides, restricting entry of Indian manufacturers,” Raja Mahender Reddy of CAPMA said.
The Bill has recently been released by the Union Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare for comments from stakeholders. The Bill, which seeks to replace the existing law (Insecticides Act, 1968), has a lot of shortfalls and loopholes, the association argues.
“We did bring these issues to the notice of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture, but there’s been no change,” the association said.
“The Bill is silent on the need for compulsory registration of technical grade pesticides (or active ingredients) in India. This could lean to monopolies by formulation importers. Insecticide Schedule (which serves as a guide to identify all recognised and registered pesticides is very important. But this is missing in the Bill,” Mahender Reddy said.
The association also felt that export of pesticides is over regulated in the bill. This could affect the export of pesticides.