The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has been piloting Pesticides Management Bill, 2020 for a long time. Finally, the government acts on excessive use of pesticides, approves pesticide management bill 2020.
Compensation to Farmers
The proposed pesticides management bill in place of the existing Insecticides Act of 1968. Also, it proposes a corpus fund of Rs 50,000 crore to compensate farmers due to pesticide-related crop failure. Further, farmers would receive compensation through direct benefit transfer in their accounts linked with fertilizer subsidy. Also, the fund will comprise of contribution from officially registered pesticide companies, central government and state government in the ratio of 60%, 20% and 20% respectively.
Increase in Penalties in Pesticides Management Bill
The bill has proposed a penalty on sale of banned pesticides to up to Rs 50 lakh. In addition, the violators will be sentenced to 3 to 5 years of imprisonment. This is much improved from the existing fine of Rs 2,000 and a jail term of three years.
Besides, the government will create a separate portal for providing digital information to farmers related to pesticides. Further, it will allow farmers to have access to pesticides’ strengths and weaknesses, the risks and alternatives available (all languages). Moreover, the portal will handle the compensation procedure due to crop failure.
Central Board for Regulation
The bill also proposes the establishment of the central board comprising of representatives from the central government, state government and farmers. These representatives must be well acquainted with the agro-ecological climate of their respective regions. In addition, the pesticide management bill proposes the representatives to have the knowledge of environment conditions and soil conditions. Further, the board will focus on to regulate pesticide use by looking into registration and bans. It will also deal with issues like sale, labeling, pricing, packaging and storage of pesticides.
Ban on Pesticides
Citing the increasing number of bogus pesticide manufactures, the bill has updated the list of banned pesticides. Also, a senior agriculture official stated that the number of banned pesticides will be increased from 40 to 75. Besides, the bill will ban the import of numerous pesticides. The government has supported the decision by stating the effects of weed killer ‘Dicamba’. This pesticide drifts in the field and kills the neighboring crops.
In all, stricter penalties will give more power to the government to regulate the use of excessive pesticides.