Draft Pesticide Bill: Punjab seeks larger role for states in storage, sales
The draft authorises the Central Government to frame rules to prescribe minimum qualification for all manufacturers, producers, sellers, stockists and distributors of pesticides
Punjab, a prominent agricultural state and a key contributor to the country’s grain reserves, wants the Centre to revisit draft Pesticide Management Bill-2017 circulated few days back on the grounds that it limits the role of state governments in storage, sale and distribution of Plant chemicals.
Though agriculture, which includes plant protection in its scope, is a state subject, the draft does not give states adequate powers to regulate storage, sale and distribution of approved pesticides.
“The bill in its current draft needs to revisited and all its definitions, clause by clause, need to be properly analyzed,” Punjab agricultural commissioner Dr B S Sidhu said.
He was speaking at a seminar on the draft Pesticide Management Bill of 2017 organized by Bharat Krishak Samaj.
Sidhu said the draft bill, though a delayed bit, is a good initiative, but needs modifications in its final version.
Not just Punjab, even other players of the pesticide and plant chemicals sector, including industry and experts, expressed apprehension over certain provisions of the bill at the seminar.
Raju Kapoor, leader-Corporate Affairs, DowAgrisciences, said the Pesticide Management Bill should ensure that Registration Committee under the Act gives time-bound clearances of applications for registration.
He added that several definitions contained in the draft Bill needed proper clarity or else the entire purpose of regulating the sector would be lost.
Citing an example, Kapoor explained that the draft says that the term ‘to control pests’ is an incomplete definition as it leaves out ‘weeds’ and ‘weedicides’ from its ambit.
The description of ‘sub-standard and spurious’ as given in the draft Pesticide Management Bill needs to be examined and requires proper clarification as well.
Arvind Patel, Secretary, Agro-Input Dealers Association, called for relaxation of the mandatory educational qualification for new pesticide dealers.
He also asserted that there should a crash or bridge course for older dealers. These steps were necessary as just 8–10 per cent of the 800,000-odd registered pesticides and plant chemical dealers in the country have the mandatory degree prescribed by the law.
The draft authorises the Central Government to frame rules to prescribe minimum qualification for all manufacturers, producers, sellers, stockists and distributors of pesticides.
“A pesticide dealer is subjected to maximum rules and the draft says that in case of spurious or misbranded pesticide sale, the dealer can be held responsible, which I believe is wrong, as it is sole responsibility of the manufacturer,” Patel said…….read more