Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Order on Proposed Ban of 27 Pesticides

Pesticides in our country are regulated under Insecticides Act- 1968. The act was made primarily to allow pesticides manufacturing, import and its use to prevent risk to human and animals. The products registered in India undergo a stringent review of data generated in our country on residue, toxicity, safety and bio efficacy of the chemicals so that there are no ill effects of the same to human being animals and environment. This was the right approach keeping the safety very important. One by one new chemicals were registered based upon the scrutiny from the experts clearing all the norms as stipulated with in the act. 

From 1968 till today around 292 molecules are registered in the country. The new chemistry is available in other countries where basic research is carried out on discovery of new molecules which are safer and also more efficacious. The existing molecules develop resistance on the pest which is natural phenomena. The new research continues and science, work to bring in better products replacing the age old molecules which are no longer effective and have developed resistance.  

The research is negligible in India of developing new molecules and we have to look to other countries and organizations who are pioneers in the area of research. Old molecules are less effective as such there is imperative need to introduce new molecules which are available in other countries. Now the question is why the organizations, who have invested huge amount in research will be willing to give such new molecules unless there is protection to them that the data is not leaked to other manufacturers who can copy the data.  

There had been over the years’ recommendations for data protection by the Industry as well as by the expert committee members constituted keeping in view of the welfare of the farmers for use of latest technology. In absence of data protection Indian farmers are not getting latest research whereas neighboring countries like Pakistan have more products registered. As against around 292 Molecules registered in India, Pakistan has more than 450, USA more than 800 and China more than 1000. Phasing out old molecules will be beneficial only when the new molecules are introduced. The lacuna in our system and the flaws restricting the new pesticides continues resulting in Indian farmers depriving them of the use of new products.  

Even the new PMB 2020 bill which is placed in Rajya Sabha is unable to address this. Government, MOA&FW vide gazette notification number, SO.1512(E) dated 14th May,2020, announced a proposed ban of 27 pesticides in the country. The stake holders were given 45 days to file objections or their concerns before the order get implemented. Such decisions for the ban of pesticides were without the due consideration of expert committee or the Industry who are affected. Some of the pesticides are even used in control of LOCUST by the Government.  

The exports of these pesticides to various countries get badly affected. The logic was deliberated and discussed in the recently organized meeting called by FICCI in collaboration with the Industry partners. The meeting was attended by Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Government Officials in the Ministry, Chairman and MD of, Leading Companies from the Industry, President of FICCI Ms. Sangita Reddy, Mr. R G Agarwal President of Subcommittee of Agro chemical FICCI and various Associations of the industry from India and world over. The rational of the decision on the proposed ban of 27 pesticides were debated with a request to review as it would affect the Industry and export of these products. It is very heartening to note that the outcome of the meeting brought in fruitful results. Hon’ble Minister provided a patient hearing and platform for Industry to put in their concerns. The order for export is now relaxed and exports would be allowed on case to case basis which has provided relief. Not only this, but the 45 days time period given to the stake holders and the Industry is further extended to 90 days from 14th May 2020 to file the objections with scientific claims of the same. 

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