Updated on 11 July 2013
Dr J N Verma, managing director, Life Care Innovations, called it a "brave decision". He feels strongly that BRAI must have the mandate of both regulations as well as the product development to clear the current mess. "The BRAI and directorate of health research should function in tandem and I think we must do away with Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) in the first place," says Dr Verma.
The unhappy lot
However, the activists and groups condemning the Bill argue that the Indian government is trying to push the BRAI Bill amidst confusion. "It is strange that Mr Jaipal Reddy (Indian Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Science) overlooked the concerns raised by political parties and the parliamentary standing committee report on GM, especially when the Technical Expert Committee recommendations are still pending at the Supreme Court. The UPA government is trying to push the BRAI Bill amid all the confusion without much media debate or public opposition in the garb of rape incidents and Coalgate," said National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) in a statement.
Non-profit organization Greenpeace too in a statement demanded that the Bill should be sent to the Joint Committee of the parliament with members from all political parties from both the houses for amendments so that it does not jeopardize food safety and seed sovereignty.
Besides, as the Union Science and Technology Minister of India, Mr Jaipal Reddy, was introducing the Bill in the parliament, CPM member, Mr Basudev Acharya, interrupted the proceedings arguing the proposed Bill would help the multinational companies, and goes against the recommendations of a report made by the standing committee on agriculture headed by him. Meanwhile, Ms Aruna Roy, a member of the National Development Council, asked ruling party chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to intervene and hold back the introduction of the Bill in the parliament, and allow further public debate on the matter.