Why in news recently?
(Between July and October last year, more than 40 farmers died in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region in what were feared to be cases of pesticide poisoning. The situation was worst in Yavatmal region with at least 21 deaths.)
Pesticides are important for controlling vectors responsible for diseases in crops but they can be toxic as well. A robust mechanism to regulate the import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of insecticides/pesticides is important. The Insecticides Act was enacted with this aim, however, there are certain loopholes in this Act.
These loopholes include:
- lack of clarity on qualification for manufactures, sellers, stockists and commercial pest-control operators;
- less representation of experts in the Central Pesticides Board and the Registration Committee;
- no-fixed tolerance limits of pesticides as a pre-condition of their registration.
The Pesticides Management Bill, 2008 seeks to address these issues. The key features of the Bill include:
- Wider definition of the term ‘pesticide’: The Bill intends to provide for an elaborate definition of pesticides to cover any substance of chemical or biological origin intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, mitigating or controlling any pest, including unwanted species of plants or animals, which will enable regulation of existing pesticides as well as new discoveries.
- Wider regulation: the Bill proposes to address all aspects of development, regulation and quality monitoring, production, management, packaging, labelling, distribution, handling, application, use and control, including post-registration activities and disposal of all types of pesticides.
- Defining household pesticide: It would also define household pesticides, in order to prohibit their field applications and to enable delicensing of their retail sale for easy availability to the consumer.
- Revamping Central Pesticides Board and Registration Committee (CPBRC): The Bill would provide for the effective and efficient working of the Central Pesticides Board and Registration Committee.
- Fix tolerance limit of pesticides.
- Propose stringent punishments: The Bill proposes stringent punishments to check production and sale of misbranded, sub-standard and spurious pesticides, besides, and most importantly, providing for the disposal of expired, sub-standard and spurious pesticides in an environment friendly and safe manner.
The Bill would also detail the minimum qualification of licensees and accredit private laboratories to carry out any or all functions of the Central pesticides laboratory.
Source: The Hindu – Regulatory Upgrade.