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Pesticide Monocrotophus Banned, Here's Why

Just before the pivotal Supreme Court hearing, the government banned the Monocrotophus pesticide. Read the full details below.

Vivek Singh
Government banned Monocrotophus pesticides (Photo Courtesy: Freepik)
Government banned Monocrotophus pesticides (Photo Courtesy: Freepik)

Several days before a crucial Supreme Court hearing, the Central government has prohibited the use of four insecticides out of the original list of 27. These banned insecticides include the controversial monocrotophos, although certain conditions apply.

Activists and observers noted that the recent directive regarding monocrotophos allows a one-year transition period for farmers to switch to alternative insecticides, permitting the sale, distribution, or use of Monocrotophos 36 per cent SL only to deplete existing stock. The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) expressed concerns about potential stockpiling during this period, urging a clear directive to ban all monocrotophos formulations. The government also banned Dicofol, Dinocap, and Methomyl through a Gazette Notification issued on September 29, 2023, and published on October 6, 2023.

Activists question the inclusion of carbofuran, a previously banned pesticide, in a recent notice. All carbofuran formulations, except the 3 percent CG with specific crop labels, should be discontinued, implying that the Carbofuran 3 percent CG formulation remains unregulated, and it's the only registered one in India.

PAN India Called On The Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC) To Provide Clarity on the Issue

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) has raised concerns, particularly regarding the pesticide monocrotophos, due to its association with multiple pesticide poisoning incidents in India, notably the 2017 Yavatmal case. The Maharashtra Association of Pesticide Poisoned Persons (MAPPP) has been actively advocating for the prohibition of monocrotophos and other harmful pesticides linked to fatalities and injuries among farmers. The Maharashtra government has even written to the Union Government of India urging the ban of monocrotophos and four other pesticides.

This issue originated from a government order in May 2020, banning 27 hazardous pesticides deemed a threat to public health and safety. These pesticides were part of a group of 66 substances under scrutiny for their toxicity, including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Industry objections were allowed, and a committee, led by TP Rajendran, recommended keeping the ban on only three of the 27 pesticides while lifting the ban on the rest, as requested by major industry stakeholders. However, some activists have questioned the committee's existence and transparency, while others assert that it exists and its report is available.

As a result, the government revisited the original ban in February 2023, maintaining restrictions on only three pesticides. Civil society groups approached the Supreme Court to question the revised order.

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