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Government Proposes Banning of 27 Pesticides Used in India, PAN India

In Article
May 20, 2020

PAN India welcomes the proposal of Government of India to ban the 27 pesticides, and urges the Agriculture Ministry to review all the remaining pesticides registered in India with the same criteria used for assessing the 27 chemicals and come up with stringent regulatory measures.

In an appreciable move, Government of India is considering banning of 27 highly toxic pesticides, which are currently used in India, but are already banned in one or more countries. In a gazette notification issued on 14 th of May 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture proposed a draft order intended to ban the 27 pesticides and sought comments or suggestions from those who are likely to be affected by the decision.

The notification says ‘sixty-six insecticides which are banned or restricted or withdrawn in other countries but continue to be registered for domestic use in India’ were reviewed by an Expert Committee set up by the Ministry of Agriculture. The ministry considered recommendations of this committee and recognized that use of the ‘twenty seven insecticides are likely to involve risk to human being and animals as to render it expedient or necessary to take immediate action’.

The draft order has a list of 27 pesticides with decision of the government for each of them. Many of them are highly hazardous pesticides with potential to cause severe health effects such as hormonal changes, neurotoxic effects, reproductive and developmental health effects, carcinogenic effects, as well as environmental impacts such as toxic to bees. Many of them to have data deficient for regulatory purposes and noted that alternatives are available for all of them.

‘This is a hopeful move by the Indian government for protecting public health and environmental well being’, noted Jayakumar Chelaton, Director of PAN India. He added that ‘many of the pesticides proposed for ban are implicated in both occupational and self-poisonings in India. Banning them is expected to bring down poisoning incidences and ensuring a safe working farm environment in the country. PAN India is happy to support government of India for eliminating toxic pesticides by replacing them with agroecological farming practice.

Dr. Narasimha Reddy, a policy expert and Consultant to PAN India stressed that, ‘the decision of government of India to ban those pesticides used in the country, which are already banned in other countries is a much-awaited one. Banning of these pesticides would bring down toxic burden of
farming community as well as consumers in India. However, more stringent regulations and bans are inevitable in India as we have more than 280 pesticides currently registered for use.

Moreover, for safeguarding farming community and general public in the country, the proposed Pest Management Bill 2020 has to be amended appropriately as the current version introduced in the Rajya Sabha has several lacunae concerning pesticide registration, worker protection, end users of pesticides and immunity to pesticide business and promotion.

Dileep Kumar, Assistant Director of PAN India said that, ‘many of the 27 pesticides that are proposed to be banned now are considered ‘deemed to be registered pesticides’ in the country owing to data lacunae since several years’. He added ‘several pesticides registered for use in India are highly hazardous which are capable of causing severe short term and long term health consequences to the users and environment. Hence, PAN India urges the Ministry of Agriculture to review all the remaining pesticides that are registered for use in the country with the same criteria used for assessing the 27 chemicals and come up with stringent actions for protecting human health and environment’.