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Govt Recommends a Significant Hike in Registration Fees of Chemical Pesticides

The Centre has proposed a massive increase in the registration fee for chemical pesticides, from 5,000 to 4,50,000 rupees, which the agrochemical industry has backed.

Shivam Dwivedi
Pesticide Spray
Spraying Pesticides

Close on the heels of PM Narendra Modi's appeal to farmers to adopt "Natural Farming," as well as the cabinet's decision to include the topic in agriculture university curricula, the Centre has proposed a massive increase in the registration fee for chemical pesticides, from 5,000 to 4,50,000 rupees, which the agrochemical industry has backed.

The Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIB&RC) have requested feedback on the planned increase by February 2 in a draft public notice released earlier this month.

Recommendations of Panel:

According to the announcement, a panel of CIB&RC officers has changed the registration fee structure for pesticides in several categories, taking into account their "complexity, degree, nature of the application, level of disposal of the application, and to encourage quality Bio-pesticides." Before implementing the reforms, the Agriculture Ministry has urged the CIB&RC to solicit feedback from stakeholders.

The proposed revision includes raising the registration fees for Technical Import (New Molecule, New Source), Formulation Import (New Molecule, Registered Molecule with New Formulation), Technical Indigenous Manufacturing, Formulation Indigenous Manufacturing, and Technical Import to $450,000 from $5,000 currently.

The fees for registering bio-pesticides, on the other hand, have been increased to $10,000. According to industry estimates, the agrochemicals market would grow to 80,000 crores by 2026, up from 50,000 crores now.

CropLife India supports the premise behind raising registration fees as a tool to screen out non-serious and fake candidates who engage in corrupt and unlawful acts, according to the CEO of the industry association. But, he added, the fee increase should be linked to milestones and time-bound completion of long-awaited reforms and a significant revamp of CIB&RC.

To streamline the registration procedure and shorten the timetable, Asitava Sen suggested that the government upgrade infrastructure, strengthen manpower, and consider outsourcing data evaluation.

However, the projected increase is unfair, according to a top executive of a major manufacturer, because the government has allowed for price control of pesticides in the draft Bill. Instead of attempting to reduce the use of chemical pesticides through such policies, he believes the government should provide a free market environment.

Focus on Natural Farming

The Standing Committee of Parliament concurred with the government's position on the legislation's price control clause in its 36th Report on The Pesticide Management Bill, 2020. The Agriculture Ministry, on the other hand, has stated that price restriction of all pesticides is not required. According to the ministry, the government wants to reserve the power to make a reasonable price restriction through an authority.

Following this, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) decided to integrate 'natural farming' into undergraduate and post-graduate curricula. "ICAR's Education Division shall develop syllabus in consultation with Agricultural Universities and Natural Farming Experts for inclusion in UG/PG courses," said ICAR's assistant director-general SP Kimothi in a letter sent on December 22 to all directors of ICAR institutes and Vice-Chancellors of agriculture universities.

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