The Government of India is planning to celebrate 75 years of Indian Independence in 2022 in a big way wherein the focus will be agriculture and rural development. According to reports, the Indian agrochemical industry has a huge unrealized potential for growth due to a very low agrochemical consumption level compared to global norms. The role of agrochemicals in achieving the vision of the US $ 5 trillion economy by 2025 cannot be undermined. It ensures food security and provides livelihoods, and provides impetus to the growth of industries service sectors.
The new Pesticides Management Bill (PMB20) recently announced offers the policymaker and the industry an opportunity to redesign the existing regime in line with global developments and safeguard the farmers’ interests and the country’s agriculture sector. Currently, there are around 1,175 pesticide molecules of both chemical and biological origins used in the world, out of which around 292 molecules are registered for use in India. PMB 2020 embraces the provision of regulating the import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution, and use of pesticides to prevent risk to human beings and animals. Representatives of the agrochemical industry expressed their views on making agricultural practices in India more transparent.
The new PMB 2020 is expected to set several shortcomings in the regulatory regime around pesticides in India. Though the proposed draft PMB 2020 includes specific refinements, there are also some genuine concerns such as the need for a time-bound, predictable, stable, and transparent process for registration of products, which need to be addressed immediately by the government the bill is passed.
Addressing the media, R G Agarwal, chairman of Dhanuka Agritech and chairman of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), highlighted Data Protection issues- “This is a huge sectoral and industry concern and we feel it needs an urgent addressal in the bill. If we have goals to make India ‘Atmanirbhar’ the PMB20 will need to walk the talk and incorporate certain elements which may be vital to our success.”
Salil Singhal, chairman PI Industries, “Stewardship on Modern Crop Protection molecules should be inherent part of Registration process. What is now urgently needed is reform in the regulatory framework pertaining to agrochemicals which must focus on pro-actively promote introduction of new molecules.”
K C Ravi, chief sustainable officer, Syngenta, said, “The Pesticide Management Bill 2020 is a great opportunity to bring in a predictable progressive science-based legislation in place of the age old Insecticide Act of 1968. However, provisions like criminalization of offences, regulatory provisions like reregistration’s will affect ease of doing business as well as restrict new molecule introductions so necessary for the farmers in an extremely complex environment and pest pressures.”
Gunavanta Patil, general secretary of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee, said, “We need modern technology and government should create an amicable environment for this. Further he added to reduce GST on Pesticides to 5% from current 18%.”
Protection of regulatory data (PRD) encourages innovators to discover, protect, register, and produce new solutions. In addition to manufacturing and R&D capabilities, this ensures India’s position as an investor’s hub. The benefits which will accrue from PRD include accelerated introduction of newer and safer crop protection products (CPP), ensure proper product use through stewardship, protecting sensitive proprietary know-how (impurity profile and product composition) from disclosure to prevent unfair commercial use, increasing agricultural exports, setting-up of R&D facilities in India, outsourcing studies or data generation to Indian research institutes, giving employment to Indian scientists and engineers.
PRD will help farmers grow more and better food by getting solutions to new invasive pests, diseases, and weeds. The existing pesticides have developed resistance, and the farmer needs new solutions. Experts also stressed modern farm management in India by encouraging R&D, innovation, application of new-age solutions, and innovative technologies.