“Our government has lost its trust in scientists”

Dr B Sesikeran, the former director of National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), served as a member of Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) in the country.

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Dr B Sesikeran

This nutritional pathologist for over 30 years, joined NIN in 1977 and served as the director of the institute since 2006. Dr Sesikeran shares his views on the state of affairs in GEAC.

Excerpts from an interview:

Q. What is happening within GEAC as of date?

Dr B Sesikeran: The GEAC has not met for a year now. The last time its members came together was inMarch 2013. There have been no meetingsthereafter. I do not know the reasons behind it. The GEAC is currently not offering any approvals for Genetically Modified (GM) crops.

Q. Is there a lot of misinformationabout GM crops?

Scientifically it is proven beyond any doubt that GM crops are safe for consumption. Unfortunately, people have concocted unscientifically proven stories about GM foods.

Activism has taken advantage of these claims and have over taken the scientific community.

Even countries like Bangladesh, which are much more backward compared to India, have taken the initiative of approving GM crops, as they found it immensely useful for their famers.

Thanks to the Honorable Supreme Court of Bangladesh. Hopefully, our farmers in India might see the benefits and adopt the same.

Q. How can we change the current perception about GM crops?

Education on GM crops should have started long before commencing its research. If it had, people today would have had more awareness about GM crops.

However, this was not done. People here wanted to first carry out the research rather than focuson spreading the awareness.

 

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