Updated on 11 September 2012
With regards to the report, Dr Bharagava stated, "The standing committee has gone by the evidence which was presented and by what is beneficial for the country. The report was signed by all members of the committee without a single dissent. I think we have a perfect case for stopping all field trials, because we do not have adequate system for assessing biosafety. The only data we have is that which is provided by the company itself, which cannot be relied on."
Dr C Kameswara Rao, executive secretary, Foundation for Biotechnology Awareness and Education (FBAE), feels that this is a very biased report where the conclusions were predetermined. "The members have disregarded the people who have given their opinions. Things like cotton seed oil entering the food chain are hyped up without even understanding that oil would contain negligible, if any amounts of protein in it, especially not Bt protein. If the protein does enter our system, Bt proteins are digested just like any other protein in our body," added Dr Rao.
Since last year, the regulatory process for GM crops was already in a state of limbo due to the additional requirement of obtaining NOCs from the state governments for conducting field trials. Different governments at the state and national level have differing policies on Bt crops.
Mr Manish Tiwari, spokesperson, Congress, has however said, "What I believe in as a lawyer is the integrity of scientific and regulatory processes. There is a tendency in our system to substitute the opinions of generalists for specialists. Complex scientific issues should be best left to scientists who understand their implications and regulatory bodies who have that remit."
Previously too, the importance of GM crops for providing food security has been highlighted by the nation's top bureaucrats. Dr Anup Karwa, director life sciences, Krishidhan Seeds Group India, echoes this sentiment, "In our opinion, GM technology is the logical advancement of science in the service of society. By stopping introduction in a country like India which is a densely populated country and faces continuous challenges for meeting the food, economic and social need of teaming millions, great harm is being done."