Maharashtra farmers' group agitates for 'freeing' GM seeds, but illegal varieties are rampant in India
About 1,000 Maharashtra farmers, under the aegis of the Shetkari Sanghatana, participated in a 'civil disobedience' movement in favour of GM seeds. They planted herbicide tolerant (HT) Bt cotton, which is not approved for cultivation or sale in India.
As illegal seeds continue to enter India, cultivation of genetically engineered crops like brinjal have been discovered in Haryana. It threatens irreversible contamination of India’s brinjal.
Haryana’s Bt brinjal row: Govt must allow farmers to have access to technologies in agriculture to dissuade illegal use of seeds
Believing that with a change of government and of environment minister Bt brinjal could be approved, the activists who are vehemently opposed to GM crops for ideological reasons, have stirred into action.
GM mustard row: Hasty call on genetically modified crop could spell disaster; govt must consider long-term effects
Government needs to go slow on the issue of rolling out GM mustard, in order to take a considered view based on both domestic and international concerns.
The policy, approved by the Cabinet, is aimed at stimulating flow of capital and technology.
GM Mustard row: Govt's claims of higher yields, low import bills untrue, says petitioner Aruna Rodrigues
Firstpost writer Indra Shekhar Singh speaks with Aruna Rodrigues, who exposed “agronomical fraud” in the claims made to support the introduction of HT GM mustard in India
It is reasonable to be cautious with the introduction of genetically-modified crops. But risks have to be weighed against benefits. Jairam Ramesh's indefinite moratorium on GM brinjal tilts the balance significantly against scientific progress.
While there are lobbies that support GM crops, farmers, agricultural scientists and activists in India have been locked in a battle with them.
Holding that some of the fears over BT Brinjal are legitimate, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday advocated for a "reasoned debate" in the country over the issue.
Biotechnology is too complex and important to be left to the politicians alone. It is time an independent authority looked into the research, safety, release, and labeling of biotech products.