New report recommends scientific scrutiny of all pesticides in India
Press Note | PAN India | 19th September 2022
A new report titled “Deemed to be Registered Pesticides in India”, was released in an international workshop on on “Legal Remedy for Pesticide Poisoning: Challenges in Regulation, Liability and Accountability” organised at Amolak Chand Law College, Yavatmal on 19th September. This report addresses lacunae in regulation and problems with the so called deemed to be to be registered pesticides in India.
Maharashtra Association of Pesticide Poisoned Persons (MAPPP) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) India along with Amolak Chand Law College organised an International workshop to discuss various pesticide related legal issues in order to help farmers fraternity to access legal remedies for injuries caused by pesticides. There were more than 200 participants belonging to Amolak Chand Law College, College of Social Work and College of Biotechnology.
This workshop discussed various aspects related to pesticide poisoning, including occupational exposure to pesticides among farming community, socio-economic and legal challenges in regulation, international conventions on pesticides and legal remedies available in India.
A Report, “Deemed to be Registered Pesticides in India”,prepared by A. D. Dileep Kumar and P. S. Athira, from Pesticide Action Network India was released by Dr. Pramod Yadagirwar, Associate Director (Research) Zonal Agriculture Research Station, Central Vidarbha Zone in Yavatmal. This report addresses lacunae and problems of the so called deemed to be to be registered pesticides in India. Pesticides used in India before the formal ‘registration process’ started following the Insecticides Act 1968 are considered as ‘Deemed to be registered’. These pesticides thus did not undergo the mandatory scientific scrutiny process for evaluating their efficacy and safety, and most of them are continue to be used in the country. Many of them are highly hazardous pesticides and subject to international regulatory frameworks. The new ‘Pesticide Management Bill 2020’ favours the provision for ‘deemed to be registered’ that will allow 62 pesticides (except those banned if any) to continue to be in use. This report suggests that as mounting volume of literature is available on pesticide toxicity, no pesticides should be allowed to be used without scientific scrutiny of need, efficacy, health risk and environmental safety.
Dr. Pramod Yadgirwar gave his keynote address after releasing the report. He exhorted students to come forward to take action on behalf of pesticide poisoned persons. Dr. Narasimha Reddy Donthi, Strategic Advisor, Pesticide Action Network India, introduced the subject of pesticide poisoning. He spoke at length on increasing usage of pesticides in India. He gave statistics on pesticide usage and health impacts on farmers and their families. He referred to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for the past 5 years, which shows increasing pesticide poisoned deaths. He suggested among others, the following actions”
- Fix product liability and accountability of toxicity on agrochemical/ pesticide companies.
- Pay atleast Rs.25 lakhs per family in case of a death due to pesticide poisoning.
- Create a National Toxic Fund (NTF) to facilitate relief to pesticide poisoned families and protection of ecology
- from GST and profits of pesticide companies
- Pledge ourselves to increase awareness, education, economic relief and action
Participants agreed that government, judiciary and media, have to respond to the humanitarian crisis arising out of pesticide poisoning in rural areas of Maharashtra. Most of them wanted promotion of natural farming.
Dr. Christian Schliemann, European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights and Ms. Anina Dalbert, Legal Advisor Corporate Accountability, Public Eye, also spoke about international conventions which are focused on pesticide regulations and human rights in general and have provisions that may be violated in cases of pesticide poisoning. Dr. Ch. Divakar Babu, Principal, Siddhartha Law College, Vijayawada, spoke at length on Consumer Protection Act, 2019, and the provisions available for pesticide poisoned farmers and farm labour. Mr.Saheb Rao, of Maharashtra Association of Pesticide Poisoned Persons (MAPPP), explained how farmers are becoming victims of pesticides. He exhorted everyone to support natural farming.
Ms. Suprabha, Principal, Amolak Law College, asked students to learn and do more research on the subjects discussed in the workshop. She wanted students to stand with the farmers.Dr. Sandeep Narwale and Dr. Vinod Munnot also spoke on the occasion. Participants had lot of questions and there was lively session on clarifications and doubts from them.
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