National

Parliamentary committee pitches for better pesticide regulation

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture has said the problems associated with unscientific and excessive use of pesticides have not been addressed properly by the Central and the State governments, and a system for registration of pesticides does not address the systemic deficiency.

In its report for 2015-16, entitled “Impact of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on agriculture and allied sectors in the country”, presented in Parliament, the committee has recommended a review of the Insecticides Act, 1968, as the pesticide sector needs better regulation to safeguard the environment and public health.

The Act and the Insecticides Rules, 1971, regulate import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of insecticides to prevent risk to human beings or animals. The report says the Central Insecticides Board, constituted under the Act, is empowered to ban manufacture, import or sale of pesticides if concerns are raised about a threat to public health and safety or any adverse report is received about the toxic effect of any pesticide.

“However, the committee is perturbed to note that there is no provision for periodic scientific evaluation of pesticides used in the country and the Central Insecticides Board doesn’t carry out any research or study on its own, and its advice to the government is based on national and international literature or information available. The action for ban of particular pesticides is taken only after receipt of general information on the ban on, or restriction of, particular pesticides in other countries. A ban is based on the recommendation of a committee of experts constituted for the purpose,” it said.

The report says the present system of registration of pesticides is not robust and does not address manipulation of systemic deficiency. Furthermore, the absence of an ongoing mechanism for periodic evaluation of the efficacy and toxicity of pesticides is posing danger to the environment and public health. “There is need to streamline the regulatory mechanism for manufacture, import and sale of pesticides... The Committee, therefore, recommends that the government take steps for the constitution of a pesticides development and regulation authority after parliamentary approval… for regulation of the pesticide sector in the country. The government should start discussions with all stakeholders for constitution of such an authority in a time-bound manner,” it says.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 8:31:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Parliamentary-committee-pitches-for-better-pesticide-regulation/article14569825.ece

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