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Pesticides Management Bill 2020

Topics Covered: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Pesticides Management Bill 2020

What to study?

For Prelims: Key provisions.

For Mains: Need for and significance of the bill.

Context: Union Cabinet has approved the Pesticide Management Bill 2020 to promote the use of organic pesticides in the country.

Key provisions:

  1. The bill will empower farmers to get all the information regarding pesticides including their strengths and weaknesses and the risk and alternatives involved, as the data would be made available in open source, in a digital format and in all languages.
  2. The bill will also include the provision of compensating the farmers in case of losses due to the use of spurious or low quality of pesticides.
  3. The union government may form a central fund to take care of the compensation.
  4. Any person who wants to import, manufacture, or export pesticides would have to register under the new bill and provide all details regarding any claims, expected performance, efficacy, safety, usage instructions, and infrastructure available to stock that pesticide. The information will also include details on the pesticide’s potential effects on the environment.
  5. The bill also plans to regulate pesticides-related advertisements to check misleading claims by industries and manufacturers.

Need for a fresh law:

The current state of regulation of pesticides in India, using the extant law called Insecticides Act 1968, has not caught up with post-modern pest management science nor has taken cognizance of a huge body of scientific evidence on the ill effects of synthetic pesticides. Therefore, it is high time that new legislation is brought in.

Besides, the acute pesticide poisoning deaths and hospitalisations that Indian farmworkers and farmers fall prey to are ignominious by now. It is not just human beings but wildlife and livestock that are poisoned routinely by toxic pesticides as numerous reports indicate.

Pesticides usage in India:

India is the fourth-largest producer of pesticides in the world, with the market segmentation tilted mainly towards insecticides, with herbicides on the increase in the recent past. It is reported that eight states consume more than 70% of the pesticides used in India. Amongst the crops, paddy accounts for the maximum share of consumption (26-28%), followed by cotton (18-20%), notwithstanding all the hype around Bt technology.

There are 292 pesticides registered in the country, and it is estimated that there are around 104 pesticides that are continued to be produced/ used in India that have been banned in two or more countries in the world. The industry has grown to be an INR 20,000 crores business in India, with the top 3 companies having a market share of 57%.

Sources: the Hindu.