The central government’s decision to make educational qualification (BSc degree) mandatory for the issuance of new licences to aspiring retailers of pesticides has brought the licensing process to a standstill.
Since January this year, when the rule was implemented, only a single licence has been issued to a pesticide retailer in Patiala district, that too earlier this week.
Notably, as many as 17 applicants had applied for licence in the pesticides category.
However, not even a single applicant approached the administration for the issuance of licence in fertilisers category.
Before the implementation of this rule, the agriculture department used to release 7 to 8 licences every month in both categories, it is learnt.
“It is good that the government has imposed the educational qualification as a condition for the issuance of new licences. The move will attract graduates to start their own business at the local level whereas earlier they were forced to leave their town in pursuit of job after the completion of their science degree,” said Talwandi Malik, a local resident who recently got his licence issued.
The central government had issued a notification in November 2015, wherein dealers were told to complete BSc degree in two years if they want renewal of licence. The qualification was made mandatory for the aspiring dealers.
The notification stated that any individual who wants to run an insecticide/pesticide shop should have to possess a graduate degree in agriculture science or biochemistry or biotechnology or life science or graduation with either chemistry or botany or zoology.
Existing retailers or dealers were given some concession as they have to abide by the new rule by employing a qualified person to continue their business.
In fertiliser category, the applicant should have to produce a six-month diploma in fertiliser management.
“The step taken by the government is appreciable as the malpractice of selling unwanted farm chemicals to the farmers will come to an end. As the science graduates have thorough knowledge of various chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers, they can guide the farmers about their appropriate use,” said agriculture development officer (ADO) Kuldeep Inder Singh Dhillon.
Meanwhile, the existing dealers raise their concern by saying that the time limit of two years given by the government is even shorter than the duration of BSc degree.
“The government should make the rule mandatory only for new dealers and those who are already in the profession should not be made a target of the new rule,” said Balwinder Singh, a pesticide dealer.