India's corrupt pesticide registration system

April 20, 2011

For years corruption and irregularities in the pesticide registration system in India has been a well-documented norm.

Unfortunately, it has taken action from us authorities, which has, for the first time, indicted a pesticide manufacturer for paying bribes in India, opening a particularly noisome can of worms. Dow Chemical Company has been fined us $325,000 for bribery charges against its Indian subsidiary, De-Nocil.

Documents show in explicit detail exactly how manipulation took place. An officer of the registration committee of the Central Insecticides Board (cib), the apex body for registering pesticides, was paid at least Rs 14 lakh, on several occasions, for expediting the registration of Dow products. We are used to this kind of sleaze, to decision-makers being bought off to serve private interest at the cost of the public good. But the official, and others up and down the system, supposedly the guardians of public health and their fraud has the most serious of implications.

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