Updated on 11 September 2012
India adopts anti-GM stand
August 9, 2012 proved to be a day of setback for GM crops in India with two game changing developments concerning GM technology being announced. The first and the one with a larger impact affecting transgenic crop research immensely, was the recommendation of a parliamentary standing committee to ban all GM crop trials in the country.
The other was the radical move taken by the Maharashtra government to ban the sale of Mahyco's brand of Bt cotton seeds for its alleged involvement in black marketeering of seeds. BioSpectrum takes a look at both of these events and the potential impact it will have on the burgeoning agribiotech industry of India
Ban GM crop trials... Is that the solution?
It's the season for incriminating parliamentary standing committee reports it would seem, with the standing committee on agriculture releasing its report 'Cultivation of genetically modified food crops-prospects and effects' on August 09, 2012, closely on the heels of another report from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO). The report, a 506 page opus, has among other things, recommended an immediate ban on any field trials for transgenic crops.
The committee consisted of 31 members of both the houses of the parliament. A number of scientists, leading industrialists, farmers association heads, NGOs, and ministers deposed before the committee over a course of 27 sittings. After more than two years of preparation, the document presents a largely anti-GM stand. The report has recommended that, "Further research and development on transgenics in agricultural crops should only be done in strict containment and field trials under any garb should be discontinued forthwith."
Mr Basudeb Acharia, chairman, parliamentary standing committee, has gone on record stating that, "The committee has come to the conclusion that since concerns on the potential and actual impacts of GM crops to our food, farming, health and environment are valid, GM crops are just not the right solution for our country. The government should stop parroting the promotional lines of the biotechnology and seed industry and their cronies within the technocracy and stand by scientific reasoning and greater public good." Since almost all political parties were represented in the committee, it questions the future of policy regarding GM research and hence plant biotechnology in India."