Highlights of the Bill
- The Bill replaces the Insecticides Act, 1968. It defines a pesticide as a substance used to destroy or control the spread of pests in agricultural commodities or animal feed. The Bill sets criteria by which a pesticide is to be classified as misbranded, sub-standard, or spurious.
- The Bill establishes a Central Pesticides Board to advise the government on matters related to pesticide regulation, manufacture, use and disposal. It establishes a registration committee to register pesticides.
- No pesticide can be registered unless tolerance limits for its residues on crops and commodities are specified under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
- The Bill establishes a procedure to licence manufacturers, distributors and retailers of pesticides, to be administered by state governments. Pesticide inspectors shall inspect facilities and collect pesticide samples while pesticide analysts shall test the samples collected.
Key Issues and Analysis
- The Bill defines a pesticide as any substance used to destroy or control pests in agricultural commodities or animal feeds. Pesticides used for non-agricultural purposes, such as health care, are thus excluded from this definition. The Parliamentary Standing Committee has recommended that a broader definition be used.
- The tolerance limits for pesticides are to be specified according to the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. However, the relevant provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act have yet to be brought into force.
- Pesticides registered under the Insecticides Act, 1968, are automatically deemed to be registered under the Bill. Tolerance limits have not been specified for some of these pesticides.
- The Bill does not specify penalties for pesticide inspectors or analysts who misuse their powers. The Standing Committee has recommended that penalties be imposed on such government officers along the lines of similar provisions in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 or the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
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