Harmful pesticides are one of the major reasons behind farmer's deaths. Critically discuss the provisions of Pesticide Management Bill in this context.

Recent deaths of children who consumed Mid-day meal in Bihar due to high level of pesticides has again brought the attention to pesticide regulation. Pesticide management bill would replace the Insecticide act 1968 which regulates the manufacturing, storage, distribution and use of pesticides.
a) 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
b)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 which was not present in Insecticide act.
c)Pesticide inspectors shall inspect facilities and collect pesticide samples while pesticide analysts shall test the samples collected. 
d)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.  
e)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.
f)The Bill does not specify penalties for pesticide inspectors or analysts who misuse their powers.
g) Bill remains silent about educating end users about amount and method of application.
Though the bill tries to put an effective structure but focus is needed to fill the gap in manpower and laboratory infrastructure. Sustainable agriculture and safety of food is necessary for economic growth.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Harmful pesticides are one of the major reasons behind farmer's deaths. Critically discuss the provisions of Pesticide Management Bill in this context.
TOI | Business Today

Published: October 3, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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