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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

RSS affiliate objects to clauses in Pesticide Management Bill, says they give ‘unwarranted advantage to MNCs’

Swadeshi Jagran Manch in a submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee discussing the Bill, said the Bill has provisions which ‘promote importers’ and 'foreign interests’.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi |
Updated: July 15, 2021 6:11:26 pm
“Unfortunately, present draft doesn’t include sufficient provisions to safeguard domestic manufacturing," SJM said.

RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) on Thursday raised objections to certain clauses in the Pesticide Management Bill, 2020 as proposed by the Centre. In a submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee discussing the Bill, SJM said the Bill gives “unwarranted advantage to MNCs” and does not have sufficient protection for domestic pesticide manufacturers.

The Bill, introduced in Rajya Sabha last year and sent to the standing committee, aims to regulate business of pesticides and compensate farmers in case of losses from usage of spurious agro-chemicals.

SJM has also said the Bill has provisions which “promote importers’ and foreign interests”.

“There is a clause in Section 22(1) in the draft PMB 2020, which gives unwarranted advantage to MNCs, who generally happen to be the first registrants. This section needs to be deleted. There is no need to empower first registrant to manipulate the registration of subsequent registrants in India,” SJM National Co-Convenor Ashwani Mahajan said.

SJM said existing laws promote the interests of importers. “Unfortunately, present draft doesn’t include sufficient provisions to safeguard domestic manufacturing. On the contrary, there still exist many provisions, which promote importers’ and foreign interests,” it said.

The outfit suggested that the registration committee should have the rights to refuse the registration for import of ready-made pesticides if that pesticide is already registered and being manufactured in India or if the committee is satisfied that alternatives are available in the country.

“This would promote domestic manufacturing, and save the economy from import dependence,” SJM submitted.

“Assembly and repackaging should not be equivalent to manufacturing as most of the importers are selling imported pesticides in different brands without value addition and threaten survival of domestic manufacturers. To regulate imports of pesticides, provision for imposition of non-tariff barriers should be made to safeguard the life of plants, animals and human beings by ways of legal provisions on the lines of WTO restrictions, for Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary (SPS) measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT),” it said.

SJM also said bio and organic pesticides had been the speciality of Indian agriculture but the Bill does not provide adequate recognition, legitimacy, level playing field and registration processes to these novel products.

“The regulation of pesticides should be free from the influence of the pesticide industry and importers lobby to avoid possible conflict of interest. The new Bill’s provisions for prevention of conflict of interest are weak and inadequate,” it has said.

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