Banning select pesticides: Agri group presses for farmers’ right to life

ASHA-Kisan Swaraj counters chemicals dept letter to agri ministry, decries ‘short-sighted prioritization of economic growth’

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | June 26, 2020 | Mumbai


#chemicals and fertilizers ministry   #environment   #agriculture   #farming   #Pesticide   #agriculture ministry  
A farmer at work in the field in Ludhiana (Photo GN)
A farmer at work in the field in Ludhiana (Photo GN)

A civil society group has pointed out several “fallacies” in the chemicals and fertilizers ministry’s letter in response to the agriculture ministry’s draft of banning 27 deadly pesticides, and accused the former of acting on behalf of industry and at the expense of sustainable farming.

Concerned over the June 2 letter from the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers to the ministry of agriculture, cooperation and farmers' welfare (MoAFW) in the matter of the latter’s notification of a draft ban order with regard to 27 deadly pesticides in India, ASHA-Kisan Swaraj (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture) has written to the secretary, department of chemicals and petrochemicals, and objected to the arguments that the DCPC presented.

ASHA is a network of farmer’s and women’s organisations, environmental organisations, consumer groups, citizens and experts working for the cause of sustainable and viable farm livelihoods in India.

“It is shocking that the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers is acting as a full partisan front for the industry as though it has nothing to do with citizens and sustainable development even though this department is part of a democratic government. It is even more shocking to see the department of chemicals and petrochemicals parrot some talking points given by the industry and blindly use the same in its letter to the ministry of agriculture, without any rigour of its own,” the letter notes.

“What is also shocking is that what you have written to the MoAFW is in direct contradiction to the prime minister’s clarion call on India’s Independence Day in 2019, asking for a cutting down on the use of agro-chemicals and destruction of Mother Earth,” says the letter.

“For one thing, decisions on bans cannot be based on market considerations. If that was the case, even deadly pesticides cannot be banned. Reviews and subsequent prohibition decisions are about safety, and short-term profits for the industry cannot be the reason to take away the Right to Life of agricultural workers and farmers or to do irreparable harm to the environment. The argument around these 27 pesticides having a 40% share of the Indian pesticide industry market is simply untenable. It is another matter that the claim around the market share of these pesticides is entirely industry-dependent in the absence of any other robust data systems maintained by the government through departments like yours.

“Secondly, we are sure you are already aware that this proposal of banning 27 pesticides from the MoAFW is not sudden or unexpected even though your letter alludes to the ‘sudden banning’. Several of these pesticides have been featuring in reviews starting from the RB Singh Committee in 1999 and lack of data has been used to procrastinate sound decision-making in favour of sustainable development,” it points out.
The Review Committee led by Dr Anupam Verma was constituted and began its work way back in 2013, according to this letter. “From the time the review began - which itself was long-pending given that civil society reports and ground level poisoning reports were implicating many pesticides featured in this list of 27 pesticides – it was apparent that the possibility of these pesticides getting banned has become stronger and clearer. What’s more, the pesticide industry insinuated itself into the review process and actually partook in that process. Being part of central insecticides board & registration committee your ministry also partook in the processes of adoption of the Anupam Verma Committee report. Therefore, it is simply unsubstantiated to say that this banning is sudden,” says the letter.

The letter gives point-by-point counterarguments and concludes, “Lastly, your letter alludes to need for economic growth for agro-chemical industry. It is sad that you would be supportive of economic growth to the exclusion of other serious concerns. It is precisely this short-sighted prioritisation of economic growth over environmental parameters which have caused a great damage to this country and its people.”

The letter signed by co-convenor Kavitha Kuruganti has asked the department to withdraw its communication to the agriculture ministry.
 

Comments

 

Other News

SC-appointed panel on farm laws holds first meet

The committee of experts appointed by the supreme court to deliberate with the stakeholders on the new farm laws held its first meeting here Tuesday, with one of its members saying that all stakeholders, including individual farmers, will be heard. Hearing a petition on the farm laws enacted

India’s glitch-free vaccination gathers pace

The nationwide vaccination campaign launched Saturday, the largest such exercise in the world, has started setting new benchmarks, with vaccines administered to 2,24,301 beneficiaries in the first two days. “India has vaccinated the highest number of persons on Day1 under its COVID19 v

Maharashtra to spend Rs 2,500 crore to augment, develop power infrastructure

The Maharashtra government has announced a spending of Rs 2,500 crore annually to develop infrastructure of state-owned distribution company Mahavitaran (MSEDCL).   Out of the total amount, Rs 1,500 crore will be spent on energisation of conventional agriculture pumps and Rs 1,000 crore

Launched: Largest vaccination drive in history

India on Saturday began the massive vaccination drive against Covid-19, as prime minister Narendra Modi paid tributes the ‘corona warriors’. “Such a vaccination drive at such a massive scale was never conducted in history. There are over 100 countries having less than 3 cro

"TV not in business of news; it is in the business of polarisation”

Television news these days has a loose relationship with truth, says senior journalist, columnist and author Vir Sanghvi, adding that it is not telling the truth and polarising opinions. In a live webcast with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the Visionary Talk series held by

How the colonial rulers combated “this insidious and growing danger” of dust and smoke

Dust and Smoke: Air Pollution and Colonial Urbanism: India, c. 1860-1940 By Awadhendra Sharan Orient BlackSwan, xxiv+320 pages, Rs 795 Air pollu

LIVE: Visionary Talk with Dr Ramakanta Panda, VC & MD Asian Heart Institute





Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter