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Civil society praises Centre’s draft order banning 27 pesticides -Vineet Kumar

-Down to Earth

The pesticides in question continue to be used in India, but are already banned, restricted or withdrawn in other countries

Several experts underscored the ill effects of using chemicals excessively in agriculture and stressed on ecologically sound alternatives while backing a recent government draft order to prohibit a bunch of pesticides.

Civil society members, citing risks, threats and damage from 27 pesticides, came out in support of a May 14, 2020 government draft order that called for the ban on 27 pesticides, during a webinar co-hosted by non-profits Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture and the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The Union government — after considering recommended data and safety concerns and consulting with the registration committee — was satisfied that the pesticides involved risks to humans and animals, the draft order said.

The pesticides in question are already banned, restricted or withdrawn in other countries, but continue to be used in India. The order described in detail the reasons on why the pesticides bore significant risks to human and animal safety.

The agro-chemical industry, however, heavily lobbied against the draft order. The Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers shot a letter to the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare June 2, opposing the ban, citing representations from agro-chemical industry.

Facing strong opposition from industry, the agriculture ministry exempted export from the ban and increased the timeline for receiving objections to 90 days from the earlier 45 days. A ban on domestic use, however, remains in the draft.

Food and trade policy analyst Devinder Sharma, speaking at the webinar, supported the ban and quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to reduce chemicals in farming during last year’s Independence Day.

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