Hyderabad: Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said all information should be put in public domain and due diligence done and tests carried out before a decision is taken on commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) mustard in the country.
"All information should be in the public domain," Ramesh told PTI when asked for his take on the issue, but regretted that an independent and professional regulator, Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India, proposed many years ago, is still not in place.
"Due diligence should be done on whatever information is provided. Whatever tests are to be carried out, should be carried out independently and then a decision should be taken whether to have (commercial cultivation of) genetically modified mustard or not," the senior Congress leader said.
Biotech regulator GEAC (Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee), under the Environment Ministry, last month deferred its decision on commercial cultivation of GM mustard in the country and asked its risk assessment group to look into the deficiencies pointed out by a sub-committee.
Even as activists upped their ante against commercialisation of GM mustard, GEAC had in its meeting chaired by an Additional Secretary asked the risk assessment group to submit within 60 days its report, which will be put in public domain for further consultation.
Ramesh, a Rajya Sabha member and Congress spokesperson, said, "The decision I took (as Union Environment Minister) in February 2010 related to only genetically modified brinjal. I did not say anything on mustard. I did not say about any other crop. I only said as far as genetically modified brinjal is concerned, there should be a moratorium."