Updated on 11 July 2013
Few members of the parliament have already written to the Indian prime minister, expressing their concern over the Government of India pushing forward the BRAI Bill. Among these are the former union minister of environment, Captain Jainarain Nishad, also a Rajya Sabha MP, and Professor Anil Kumar Sahani, a Rajya Sabha MP, who pointed out that the BRAI Bill appears to be too centralized and therefore, contradictory to the principle of increasing decentralization of governance. Earlier, Ms Meneka Gandhi, from the opposition party and Dr Raghuvansh P Singh, another leading party member, raised their concerns over the Bill.
However, some politicians supported the Bill. "Let the scientific matters be decided by the scientists and not get caught in the administrative and political non-decisiveness," was what Mr Manish Tewari, former spokesperson, ruling party, had to say last year when BioSpectrum had contacted him. However, industry experts say that the inclusion of the provision of "notifying the public of all applications for field and clinical trials and of all regulatory decisions made by the authority," the Bill adequately creates provisions for transparent dissemination of information.
Also the Bill makes for stringent provisions for recruitment of officials and experts for its various bodies. By roping in the scientific community and providing them with a credible share of voice, BRAI is expected to lead the country into the next level of development of biotechnology. With the civil society and opposition members up in arm against the BRAI Bill, the government would have to do a tightrope walk for its safe passage in the coming parliament sessions.