Millennium Post

No ban on GM trials, says Javadekar

The minister mentioned in Lok Sabha that government is of the view that research in GM and confined field trials for generating bio-safety data with all due precautions should be allowed to continue in national interest. ‘As of date, there is no ban on GM crop field trials neither by the Government nor the Supreme Court,’ Javadekar said in a written reply. He said a Technical Expert Committee (TEC) was constituted vide Supreme Court order to address issues related to genetically modified crop field trials. The TEC has submitted two final reports — one which has the concurrence of five of its six members and the second by R S Paroda, sixth member.

‘Both the reports have highlighted suggestions for improving the bio-safety regulation in India. Five members of TEC have recommended that the GM crop field trials be put on hold till all recommendations are implemented. The sixth member of TEC has stated that the existing safety norms for field trials prescribed by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) are adequate,’ he said. Javadekar said that GEAC is following a case-by-case assessment of GM crops.

‘All experimental field trials are conducted as per the stringent norms prescribed in the ‘Guidelines and Safety Operating Practices for the Conduct of Confined Field Trials of Transgenic Plant, 2008’ which is as per international best practices,’ he added.

Two RSS linked outfits have sought a ban on field trials of genetically-modified crops, cleared by biotech regulator GEAC. Representatives of Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bhartiya Kissan Sangh had met Javadekar in July after the GEAC had earlier this month cleared 15 proposals for confined field trials of rice, brinjal, chickpea, mustard and cotton. The Manch and Sangh members had told the Minister that it is ‘not advisable’ to allow GM crops without proper scientific evaluation about their probable long term impact on human health and soil.

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