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GM crop trials will not be halted: Prakash Javadekar

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New Delhi | Monday, May 23 2016 IST
Despite opposition from RSS and its affiliates like Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, the government will not halt trial of genetically modified (GM) crops.Stressing the need for increasing farm productivity, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar today ruled out stopping trials of GM crops. "Advancement of science will not be stopped," Mr Javadekar said in a reply to a question whether his Ministry will oppose trial of GM crops.He was briefing media on achievements of his Ministry during last two years of the NDA government.Amid ongoing debate over commercialisation of GM crops in the country, the Environment Ministry has cleared nearly 80 per cent of proposals seeking to conduct field trials of GM crops.The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee has considered 51 proposals for controlled trails of GM crops like various varieties of rice, sugarcane, maize, brinjal, potato, mustard and chickpea.The committee has so far cleared 40 projects for field trials and deferred decision on eight others awaiting expert opinion while three have been withdrawn. Mr Javadekar has favoured field trials of GM crops and said research in GM and confined field trials for generating bio-safety data with all due precautions should be allowed to continue in national interest.Terming GM crops unwanted and unsafe, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) last year asked the government to stop their field trials. The Ministry has held consultative meeting with scientists and SJM to accommodate views of all stakeholders. There is a debate going in the country over introduction of GM crops with some agriculturists pitching for it saying it's important for country's food security while other opposing it. Bt Cotton is the only GM crop legally allowed for commercial release in India. A moratorium on bt brinjal was put in February 2010 by the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh after protests from civil society organisations and farmers. The Government had favoured further scientific study before a final decision is taken in this matter.A Supreme Court technical expert committee in 2013 had recommended an indefinite moratorium on the field trials of GM crops until Government came out with a proper regulatory and safety mechanism.The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, in an August 2012 report, had asked for a ban on GM food crops in the country, while industry has been calling for their introduction to ensure food security. UNI NM SW SB 1546

-- (UNI) -- C-1-1-DL0426-747523.Xml

 
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