Ahead of the next GST Council meeting slated for June 28-29, industry chamber FICCI has demanded the goods and services tax (GST) on pesticides should be brought down to 5 per cent from current 18 per cent to make it uniform like other inputs such as fertilisers and seeds.

“Pesticides are key agri inputs required for reducing crop losses as well as maintaining the yield level. It is necessary to reduce the GST on pesticides to 5 per cent at par with fertilisers,” RG Agarwal, chairman of FICCI’s crop protection committee, said Wednesday. FICCI is organising the Agrochemicals Conference 2022 — Policy Landscape for a Flourishing Agrochemicals Industry, on Thursday, scheduled to be inaugurated by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

‘Import technology’

Agarwal also sought import duty on agrochemical formulations to be reduced to 5 per cent from current 10 per cent to help the country receive innovative technology since a lot of investment is required to develop a single molecule. Besides, he urged the government to bring the agro-chemicals sector under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme and facilitate the setting up of international manufacturing hubs.

Highlighting that there is a need to import new pesticide technology on a priority basis to reduce crop losses faced due to climate changes, he said the industry has already requested the government on this. He also stressed on the need to bring regulatory reforms and fasten the registration process of new innovative molecules and testing of pesticides samples by NABL-accredited labs, as the duration in clearance is faster in many other developing countries.

The government has already declared pesticides as a focussed area and it is essential to align Indian legislation with international laws with a view to attract new technology and investment from developed countries, Agarwal said, adding that it is time to re-look at certain provisions of the Draft Pesticides Management Bill, 2020.