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India: Parliamentary Standing Committee rejects pesticide industry’s demand for data protection

30 December 2021, New Delhi: Parliamentary Standing Committee has rejected the Indian pesticide industry’s demand for the inclusion of a data protection provision in the Pesticide Management Bill, 2020.

As per the report, the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Food Processing, headed by BJP member P C Gaddigoudar, said that the non-inclusion of the data protection provision in the Bill will not only protect the domestic industry which primarily relies on production of the ‘Generic Pesticides’ but also the farmers, who will be benefitted by the availability of cheaper pesticides

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“India has a very large and growing market of Agrochemicals and with huge arable land, it will be able to attract introduction of New Molecules from Foreign as well as Domestic Companies even without provision for any Data Protection”, said the report.

Moreover, the Committee is totally convinced by the arguments advanced by the Government that the Patent period of 20 years is sufficient for inventors to gain benefits for the investments made in discovery/introduction of New Molecules provided that New Molecules are introduced within the Patent Period in the Country.

The Pesticide Management Bill, 2020, was referred to the Standing Committee in June this year. Its report was presented in Lok Sabha Tuesday.

The committee has also recommended minimum qualification for Sellers/Dealers/Stockiests of pesticides as per the report. It is based on the ground reality that farmers usually buy those pesticides which are recommended by the retailers hence minimum qualification standards need to be provided for. The Committee, therefore, recommends that suitable qualifications, but not less than Higher Secondary in Science/ Agriculture/ Horticulture streams may be prescribed for Sellers/Dealers/ Stockiests, etc., of Pesticides.