House panel rejects demand for data protection provision in pesticide Bill

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House panel rejects demand for data protection provision in pesticide Bill

  • A Parliamentary Standing Committee has rejected the pesticide industry’s demand for the inclusion of a data protection provision in the Pesticide Management Bill, 2020.
  • The Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Food Processing, headed by BJP member P C Gaddigoudar, in its report said that the non-inclusion of the data protection provision in the Bill will not only “protect” the domestic industry but also farmers.

Pesticides Management Bill, 2020:

Key provisions in the Bill:

  • The Bill will regulate the business of pesticides and compensate farmers in case of losses from the use of agrochemicals.
  • Pesticide Data: It will empower farmers by providing them with all the information about the strength and weakness of pesticides, the risk and alternatives. All information will be available openly as data in digital format and in all languages.
  • Compensation: The Bill has a unique feature in the form of a provision for compensations in case there is any loss because of the spurious or low quality of pesticides. If required, a central fund will be formed to take care of the compensations.
  • Organic Pesticides: The Bill also intends to promote organic pesticides.
  • Registration of Pesticide Manufacturers: All pesticide manufacturers have to be registered and bound by the new Act, once it is passed. The advertisements of pesticides will be regulated so there should be no confusion or no cheating by the manufacturers.

Key issues/provisions :

  • It would not allow the manufacture and export of pesticides not registered for use in India even if these are approved in other countries.

  • The bill will increase the import of formulations and will damage the export of agro-chemicals. This is against the demands presented by the Ashok Dalwai Committee, constituted in 2018 to promote domestic and indigenous industries and agricultural exports from India. The committee had recommended reduction in import and dependence on imported formulations.

  • The bill gives powers to Registration Committee (RC) to subjectively review registration of a pesticide and then suspend, cancel or even ban its usage. This would be done without any scientific evaluation.

  • It also provides for re-registration of pesticides already registered under the erstwhile 1968 Act. This will bring instability in the pesticides industry.

  • The Committee appreciate the fact that ‘No Provision’ of Data Protection for the introduction of New Molecules/ Products has been consciously incorporated in the Pesticide Management Bill, 2020 by the Government as it will not only protect the domestic industry which primarily relies on production of the ‘Generic Pesticides’ but also the farmers, who will be benefitted by the availability of cheaper pesticides,” the report said.

  • “The Committee also believe that India has a very large and growing market of Agrochemicals and with huge arable land, it will be able to attract introduction of New Molecules from Foreign as well as Domestic Companies even without provision for any Data Protection,