Parliamentary panel concerned as Centre yet to table Bill on pesticide management

The Centre has not given any time limit for introduction of the Bill incorporating all official amendments in Parliament.
Parliament (Shekhar Yadav | EPS)
Parliament (Shekhar Yadav | EPS)

NEW DELHI: Concerned over the rising cases of occupational exposure and associated diseases such as cancer among farmers, a Parliamentary panel has pulled up the Centre over delay in introduction of a bill meant for management of pesticides.

In its report tabled in Parliament, the Standing Committee on Agriculture said there is an urgent need to present the Pesticide Management Bill, 2017 to overcome lacuna of the outdated Insecticide Act, 1968. “Despite assurance, the Government has failed to introduce the Bill in Parliament. We hope that the much needed bill will be introduced in Parliament without further delay,” it said.

The Centre has not given any time limit for introduction of the Bill incorporating all official amendments in Parliament.

Pesticides are regulated through Insecticides Act in India. The experience in implementing the Act over the last four decades has exposed certain gaps which led to the demand for a new law.

The Bill seeks to regulate the manufacture, quality, import, export and sale of pesticides to control pests, ensure availability of quality pesticides and minimise contamination of agriculture commodities with pesticide residue. It also recommends imposition of penalties for offences such as use of pesticide in contravention of the law and sale of misbranded or sub-standard pesticide.

The committee, in its report two years ago, had recommended the Centre to prepare a comprehensive action plan to ensure sustainable manufacturing, import, sale and use of pesticides in agriculture as well as other sectors.

On its part, the government said the Central Insecticide Board and the Ministry of Agriculture periodically reviews issue concerning labeling of pesticides and classify them with colour code depending upon toxicity and hazardous nature.

Regarding the need to revise the existing fertilizer subsidy policy to make it more appropriate for Indian conditions and favour sustainable growth of agriculture sectors, the Centre said the issue involves wider consultation and needs to e examined separately.

“Back ended subsidy through NABARD for setting up of bio-fertilizer production units which is 25 per cent of the cost, subject to maximum limit of `40lakh, is being provided to farmers. Besides, steps are being taken on creating awareness and educating farmers about organic farming pesticides,” said the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.

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