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Government of India Urges State Authorities to Ensure Compliance with Insecticide Labeling Requirements

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Gazette Notification on Insecticide Labeling Faces Legal Challenge; States/UTs Licensing Authorities Urged to Ensure Compliance

05 March 2024, New Delhi: In a letter addressed to the Directors of Agriculture in all States and Union Territories, Dr. Ranjit Singh, Director Plant Protection of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, has highlighted the challenges faced in implementing the labeling requirements for insecticides as outlined in the Gazette Notification G.S.R. 211(E) dated March 23, 2023. The letter informs that the Government has received references regarding the issuance of stop sale/seizure notices to pesticide dealers, distributors, and sale points by insecticide inspectors for non-compliance with the requirement to place QR codes on retail packs of insecticides.

The Gazette Notification, which amends various provisions related to insecticide labeling under Rule 19 of the Insecticides Rules, 1971, made it mandatory to place QR codes on the retail packs of insecticides. The implementation of this requirement was provided with a specified timeline, stating that after two years from the date of commencement of the amended Rules or its expiry date, whichever is earlier, insecticides or their packages bearing labels or leaflets that are not in accordance with the provisions of the amended rules should not be distributed, sold, exhibited for sale, or stocked.

However, the Gazette Notification and its related matters have been challenged in the Hon’ble High Court, Delhi, through a writ petition (W.P.(C) 11125/2023). The industry has raised concerns about the difficulties faced in complying with the requirements. As the matter is sub-judice, the Government of India has requested all the Licensing Authorities of States and Union Territories to ensure adequate compliance with the orders of the Hon’ble High Court regarding G.S.R. 211(E) dated March 23, 2023, and the specified timeline mentioned in the Gazette notification.

The Government’s objective in amending the insecticide labeling provisions was to enhance transparency and traceability in the sale and distribution of insecticides. The inclusion of QR codes on retail packs allows consumers and authorities to access detailed information about the product, including its composition, usage instructions, and safety precautions. It aims to ensure the proper and responsible use of insecticides, safeguarding both human health and the environment.

The outcome of the legal challenge will determine the future course of action regarding the implementation of the labeling requirements. Until then, the Government of India expects the State and Union Territory authorities to adhere to the compliance instructions issued by the Hon’ble High Court.

Also Read: Indian Cotton Prices and Outlook for March 2024: A Mixed Bag for Cotton Producers

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