Use of Banned Pesticides

Use of Banned Pesticides

Ministry of Agriculture is implementing a program for “Monitoring of Pesticide Residues at National Level” under which samples of vegetable and fruits are collected and analysed for the presence of pesticide residues. No residues of banned pesticides have been detected in any of the samples collected under this program.

However, there have been reports in media about use of toxic substances like calcium carbide and oxytocin for early ripening of fruits and vegetables. Clause 2.3.5 of Chapter 2 of Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on sale) Regulations prohibits sale of fruits which have been artificially ripened by use of acetylene gas commonly known as carbide gas produced from calcium carbide.

However, use of ethylene gas in low concentration exogenously to trigger ripening of fruits is considered safe. The Commissioners of Food Safety/Food (Health) Authority of States/UTs who are responsible for implementation of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 and its Rules/Regulations in their States/UTs have been requested to keep a strict vigil on and take legal action against use of carbide gas and other hazardous chemicals for ripening of fruits. The State Governments have also been advised to educate the public through mass electronic media against consumption of such artificially ripened fruits.

During 2011-2014, out of 25,664 vegetable samples, 764 (2.9%) samples were found to contain pesticide residues above the maximum permissible residues level (MRL). Out of 7,501 fruits samples, the residues above MRL were detected in 88 (1.1%) samples. However, none of the banned pesticides were detected.

The Registration Committee constituted under the provisions of the Insecticides Act, 1968 registers pesticides only after establishing their safety to human, animal and environmental health. Technical reviews are carried out from time to time and continued use of pesticides is permitted only if found safe.

The Central Govt. through Central Integrated Pest Management Centres of Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage as well as State Department of Agriculture conduct Farmers Field Schools and awareness campaign through print media, electronic media and hoardings, sensitizing farmers regarding safe and judicious use of pesticides, use of bio-pesticides/ bio-fertilizers etc.

A ‘Grow Safe Food’ campaign has been initiated to carry the message of safe and judicious use of pesticides to farmers and other stakeholders. A simple message on the five essential principles of judicious pesticide use - application of pesticides on the right crop, against pests for which the pesticide has been approved, at the right time, in approved doses, and as per approved method of application - is sought to be conveyed through hoardings, banners etc. in regional languages in Gram Panchayats and rural areas.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture Dr.Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in Lok Sabha today.


Gender Friendly Agricultural Equipments

Agricultural machines and implements including gender friendly agricultural equipments are manufactured in the private sector. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) provides funds for research and technological innovations in the field of gender friendly equipments and from 2011-12 to 2014-15, Rs.1026.71 lakhs have been provided to All India Coordinated Research Project on Ergonomics & Safety in Agriculture for this purpose.

The use of gender friendly equipments is promoted through training, demonstration and financial assistance under Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization. Women beneficiaries are provided 10% additional financial assistance for purchase of various agricultural machines and equipments. State Governments have also been directed to ensure flow of benefits to women farmers by way of earmarking at least 30% of allocation of this Sub-Mission.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture Sh.Mohanbhai Kundaria in Lok Sabha today.


Green Revolution

Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI), a sub-scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) is being implemented in seven eastern states namely Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and eastern Uttar Pradesh from 2010-2011 to address the constraints limiting the productivity of rice based cropping systems. Under this scheme, various activities like cluster demonstrations of improved package of practices, assets building, site specific activities and marketing support are being undertaken.

With implementation of this programme, the share of rice production of eastern states increased up to 53.75 percent of total all India rice production during 2013-14 (4th advance estimates) which was 48.95 percent during 2010-11.

Government takes decisions regarding various segments of agriculture sector from time to time. Recently, “Soil Health Card Scheme” has been launched for providing soil health cards to farmers in the country. This scheme will help in judicious use of fertilizers.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture Sh. Mohanbhai Kundaria in Lok Sabha today.


Availability of Foodgrains 24.02.15

The per capita net availability of foodgrains since 2007 is given below:

(Grams per day)
Year    Per capita availability of foodgrains*
2007 442.8
2008 436.0
2009 444.0
2010 437.1
2011 453.6
  *As on 31st December of each year.

            As per the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (various rounds) carried out by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), between 2004-05 and 2011-12 while the per capita consumption of cereals and pulses and pulse products have declined in both rural and urban households, the consumption of fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs and fish etc. has increased both in rural and urban households.

Consumption of specific items of foodgrains, varies from place to place and within different sections of people depending upon the preferences of the consumers, their cultural values, income levels etc.

In addition, the Government also provides subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) which aims at enhancing the food security for the poor.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture Sh.Mohanbhai Kundaria  in Lok Sabha today.


National Fisheries Development Board /24.02.15

The Objectives of National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) are as below:

(i) To bring major activities relating to fisheries and aquaculture for focused attention and professional management

(ii) To coordinate activities pertaining to fisheries undertaken by different Ministries/Departments in the Central Government and also coordinate with the State/Union Territory Governments

(iii) To improve production, processing, storage, transport and marketing of the products of capture and culture fisheries

(iv) To achieve sustainable management and conservation of natural aquatic resources including the fish stocks

(v) To apply modern tools of research and development including biotechnology for optimizing production and productivity from fisheries

(vi) To provide modern infrastructure mechanisms for fisheries and ensure their effective management and optimum utilization

(vii) To generate substantial employment

(viii) To train and empower women in the fisheries sector

(ix) To enhance contribution of fish towards food and nutritional security

The National Fisheries Development Board since its inception in July, 2006 has been implementing a wide range of fisheries developmental schemes such as intensive aquaculture in ponds and tanks, culture based capture fisheries in reservoirs, coastal aquaculture, mariculture, seaweed cultivation, modernisation of fishing harbours and fish landing centres, development of domestic markets and capacity building of fishers and fish farmers amongst many others. NFDB has been set up mainly to implement the fish production oriented programmes/schemes devised by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture. The Governing Body (GB) under the Chairmanship of the Union Agriculture Minister reviews the activities, provides direction and guidance for smooth functioning of the Board. The Executive Committee (EC), with the Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries as the Chairman, looks after the general superintendence, issue directions and control the functional affairs of the Board.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in Lok Sabha today.


Minimum Support Price /24.02.15

Major recommendations contained in the Report of National Commission for Farmers (NCF) are:

i) Asset Reforms covering land, water, livestock, fisheries and bio-resources.

(ii) Farmer-friendly Support Services including setting up of Bio-Technology Regulatory Authority and National Agricultural Bio-security System, thrust on extension services including agro-metrology, training and knowledge connectivity, credit and insurance, and remunerative marketing opportunities, inputs and services.

iii) Curriculum reforms in the Agriculture Universities in order to promote entrepreneurship amongst the students.

iv) Approach towards Special Categories of Farming, increase in farmers’ income through cooperative farming, contract farming, promoting small holders’ estates in order to improve viability of small and marginal farmers and entrusting the Panchayat Raj Institutions with responsibility for agriculture.

v) National Loan Use Advisory Service to provide timely advice to farmers about optimum use of land, taking into account the climatic and market conditions.

vi) Setting up of market Price Stabilization Fund and Agriculture Risk Fund and coverage of farmers under a comprehensive National Society Security Scheme.

vii) Creation of a National Food Security and Sovereignty Board and a well defined Food Security Policy.

viii) Rural non-farm livelihood initiatives to create non-farm employment opportunities in rural areas.

ix) MSP should be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production.

Based on the draft prepared by the NCF and after consultations with State Governments and the Central Ministries concerned, Government of India approved the National Policy for Farmers (NPF), 2007. Government monitors the status of implementation of the plan of action prepared for operalisation of NPF 2007. Action on major recommendations has been completed.

NCF’s recommendation that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) should be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production was not accepted by the Government as MSP is recommended by Commission of Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) on objective criteria, considering a variety of relevant factors and prescribing an increase of at least 50% of cost may distort the market.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture Sh.Mohanbhai Kundaria in Lok Sabha today.


Arrival of Onions in Mandis /24.02.15

            The Government is keeping a close watch on the arrival of onions in the Mandis to see if there is need for policy intervention to check the rising prices of onions.  Various agencies are involved in collection and dissemination of data on arrival and prices of onion.  Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) under the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC) collects/hosts the data on Agmarknet Portal.  The other agencies involved in the collection of arrival and price data are National Horticulture Board and Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) under DAC.  Additionally, National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) collects information on onion arrival and prices on a daily basis from the major producing and consuming markets which is available on their website .

This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture Sh. Mohanbhai Kundaria  in Lok Sabha today.


Steps Being Taken for Adequate and Timely Supply of Fertilizers

The month-wise demand of major fertilizers, namely Urea, DAP, MOP and complex fertilizers, is assessed and projected by the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC) in consultation with the State Governments, before commencement of each cropping season. Accordingly, month-wise, state-wise supply plan is made by Department of Fertilizers and issued to the states and fertilizer companies. State Governments are responsible for monitoring the availability intra-state.

The Government had notified the New Investment Policy – 2012 on 2nd January, 2013 to facilitate fresh investment in urea sector and to make India self sufficient in the urea sector. Further, the amendment to New Investment Policy – 2012 has been notified on 7th October, 2014. This is in line with the “Make in India” campaign.

There is no shortage of fertilizers in the country. However, a few requests were received for enhancement and expeditious supply of fertilizers from some states. Accordingly, necessary steps were taken and required quantity of fertilizers was made available.

Following steps have been taken for adequate and timely supply of fertilizers to the states:-

The month-wise demand is assessed and projected by the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC) in consultation with the State Governments before commencement of each cropping season.
On the basis of month-wise & state-wise projection given by DAC, Department of Fertilizers allocates sufficient /adequate quantities of fertilizers to States by issuing monthly supply plan and continuously monitors the availability through following system:
(i)            The movement of all major subsidized fertilizers is being monitored throughout the country by an on-line web based monitoring system ( also called as Fertilizer Monitoring System (FMS);

(ii)          The State Governments are regularly advised to coordinate with manufacturers and importers of fertilizers for streamlining the supplies through timely placement of indents for railway rakes through their state institutional agencies like Markfed etc.

(iii)         Regular Weekly Video Conference is conducted jointly by Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC), Department of Fertilizers (DoF), and Ministry of Railways with State Agriculture Officials and corrective actions are taken to dispatch fertilizer as indicated by the State.

The gap between demand (requirement) and production is met through import. The expenditure incurred on import of fertilizers during the last three years and current year upto 18.02.2015 is given below:

         <Rs. in crores>

Imported Urea
Imported P&K
(upto 18.02.2015)

Further, fertilizers have been declared as Essential Commodities under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955. In order to ensure adequate availability of fertilizers at reasonable price to the farmers the Government of India under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act has promulgated the Fertilizer Control Order (FCO) 1985. FCO empowers the State Governments to take appropriate action to curb black-marketing of fertilizers in their States. In addition, Department of Fertilizers has, from time to time, written to the Chief Secretaries, Ministry of Home Affairs to activate the enforcement agencies under their jurisdiction to take action in this regard. Further, Department of Fertilizers, through weekly video conference with Department of Agriculture & Cooperation and representatives of State Government has been sensitizing and advising the State Governments for keeping strict vigil and for taking of prompt action by the State Governments to check black-marketing.

This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers Sh. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in the Lok Sabha today.


Jan Aushadhi-Generic Drugs

The Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India (BPPI) under Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has been selling quality generic medicines at affordable prices in the name of Jan Aushadhi medicines since 2008. The scheme is being revisited by expanding medicines basket.

The Government is committed to ensure the quality of products to be procured and sold under the Jan Aushadhi brand. To ensure quality, samples of each batch of medicines are got tested from NABL accredited laboratory before put to sale.

To expand the network of sale and to reach out to all sections of the Society, it has been decided to permit sale of Jan Aushadhi Medicines through private retailers in addition to Government hospitals and Jan Aushadhi Stores. The details are being worked out.

To ensure regular and adequate supply of medicines, apart from procurement of medicines from the CPSUs, BPPI supplements supply by direct purchase of medicines from private sector companies through open tender process, as per the guidelines issued by Central Vigilance Commission.

An IT based management system has been installed to ascertain availability of medicines in stores / stockists on a real time basis. This is being further strengthened.

This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers Sh. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in the Lok Sabha today.


Proposal to Have Drug Price Monitoring Cells Across the Country

The Government proposes to set up drug price monitoring cells across the country to keep a close watch on price movements, collections, monitoring of availability of drugs etc. A proposal has been received by the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers from National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) in which NPPA has proposed for revision/modification of the existing Plan Scheme of Consumer Awareness and Publicity through Print, Electronic and Other Media.

The proposal, inter-alia, has a component for Setting up Consumer Awareness, Price Monitoring and Resource Units at the States / Union Territories with the objective of forging better linkages with the State Drug Controllers. The Units are expected to provide necessary technical assistance to the State Drug Controllers and NPPA towards monitoring the notified prices of medicines, price movement of scheduled / non-scheduled medicines, collection and compilation of market based data of scheduled / non-scheduled medicines, conducting training, seminars and workshops at the State and District levels for consumer awareness and publicity covering aspects relating to availability of scheduled and non-scheduled medicines at reasonable prices, care to be taken while purchasing the medicines from the chemists / retailers, availability of alternative cheaper medicines, role and function of NPPA, etc. Most of the State Drug Controllers have in-principle supported the proposal for setting up the units at the States / UTs level. The proposal is yet to be placed before the appropriate Committee for approval.

This information was given by the Minister of State (MOS) for the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers Sh. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in the Lok Sabha today.


Revival / Setting up of Chemical and Fertilizer Plants

As per the New Investment Policy (NIP), 2012 and amendment to NIP – 2012 which has been notified by the Government on 2.1.2013 and 7.10.2014 respectively, the Government does not allow establishment of Urea Units based on Naphtha.

The Department of Fertilizers is in the process of examining thirteen Brownfield / Greenfield / Revamp proposals / projects.

The Government proposes to revive five closed units of Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd. (FCIL) at Talcher, Ramagundam, Sindri, Gorakhpur and Korba, and one unit of Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Ltd. (HFCL) at Barauni.

The Government has planned financial restructuring of three sick companies namely, MFL, BVFCL and FACT to sustain their operations. The financial restructuring, inter-alia, involves waivers of Government of India loans and interest thereon and grant of interest free loans.

The Department proposes to increase the production of fertilizer to fill the gap between demand and supply of fertilizer. As far as production of chemicals is concerned, it depends upon various factor like plant capacity, market condition, economic viability, etc. which is continuously reviewed by the Government and is an ongoing process.

This information was given by the Minister of State (MOS) in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers Sh. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in the Lok Sabha today.


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