The Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) has opposed some provisions in the Draft Integrated Plant Nutrition Management Bill, 2022 alleging that they take away the rights of States and farmers.
Asking the Central government not to introduce any provision that could criminalise farmers, it wants a provision that allows farmers or other aggrieved parties to seek legal recourse if they are not satisfied with the appellate authority’s resolutions.
ASHA, a network of volunteers that seek to promote sustainable farm livelihoods and farmers’ rights in India, wanted a mechanism to allow the State governments to regulate the price, distribution and movement of fertilisers notified by them from time to time.
“It is important that bio-fertilisers, bio-stimulants and non-edible deoiled cakes are regulated by State governments to suit their own conditions,” it said.
In its feedback to the draft floated by the Union Ministry of Fertilisers, ASHA also felt that farmers should be protected from any inadvertent criminalisation and penalisation consequences.
“The restriction with regard to the use of fertilisers should exclude the farmers and should not criminalise them in any way,” it said.
A separate process should be there for bio-stimulant, organic fertilisers, bio-fertilisers and non-edible de-oiled cakes, which incentivise localised production for localised distribution.
“This should apply to registration for manufacture as well as for actual sale, stocking and distribution of a certain set of fertilisers. This should be squarely under the purview of State governments,” it added.
Referring to the provision that bars individuals from manufacturing, selling and marketing of fertilisers without “obtaining the appropriate registration”, ASHA felt that the regulation should actually incentivise self-help groups, NGOs and pastoralists to produce organic fertilisers, bio-fertilisers, bio-stimulate and non-edible de-oiled cakes for local markets.
It wanted the government to spell out compensation mechanisms for aggrieved farmers (who purchased sub-standard, misbranded or spurious fertilisers) at the taluka-level in the statute itself.
“Consumer Protection Act is not a suitable statute where farmers can hope to get justice, while the entire regulation of fertilisers is now being proposed under this new statute,” it felt.
It would also call for a fund to take care of payment of compensations to farmers.
It found fault with the provision that bars civil courts to have jurisdiction over the matters that come under this Act, ASHA said that there should be a provision to allow the aggrieved parties who are not satisfied with the appellate authority’s resolution.
February 26, 2022