With GEAC back in action, govt pushes for field trials of GM crops

The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) on July 18, cleared field trials for 15 genetically modified (GM) crops which include major crops such as rice, chickpea, brinjal and mustard among others

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Modi effect! As compared to last year when the GEAC hardly had any meeting, there have already had 3 meetings this year.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), under the MoEF has, so far, cleared 60 proposals for the GM crops at various stages of trials this year.

In a meeting of the GEAC held recently, the committee took up the proposals that were pending over the past year. The meeting was also attended by representatives of respective companies. The GEAC has cleared trials of 15 GM crops for stage one trials on a one-acre plot. There are as many as 20 GM crops already undergoing trials at various stages. As per reports, the proposals cleared recently were for Rabi crops while the cases of Kharif crops were cleared in previous rounds of meetings.

It is worthwhile to note that the committee had not met between March 2013 and March 2014 but has now already met thrice since then. BioSpectrum in an exclusive report in its March issue, had reported about the failure of the two previous environment ministers to hold a balanced view on the matter as well as clear scientific evaluation on the issue.

 A Supreme Court technical expert committee had last year recommended an indefinite moratorium on the field trials of GM crops till the government came out with a proper regulatory and safety mechanism. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, in a report in August 2012, had asked for a ban on GM food crops in the country.

 There has been an ongoing debate over the introduction of GM crops, with one huge lobby of activists, farmers and political parties opposing it and calling it unsafe. At the same time, the government agriculture ministers, public and private scientists were batting for it and saying that it is important for the country's food security.

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Rahul Koul 12 August 2014 at 01:57 PM

Mr Krishnan, Thanks for your comments.Accusing those having contrary views is also called as shoddy activism. However, journalists don't get deterred by such attacks. Its not our job to do propaganda..This news piece had come up much before the clarification from this govt. GEAC is still a part of govt and nobody has discredited it except those opposing it. We stand for fair use of technology for the development of agriculture and prosperity of farmers and presenting all angles to the story. Can't bat for a political party's promise..The matter is yet to close...Thanks

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Rajesh Krishnan 23 July 2014 at 07:01 PM

This is shoddy juornalism at best! One clearly sees efforts to project the highly discredited GEAC's decision as new govt's decision. Infact Prakash Javadekar, the Minister in charge of MOEF clarified that govt hasn't taken a decision and GEAC is only reccomending. Secondly, to say that Modi had any role in GEAC meetings this year is mischievious. the first 2 meetings happened during the fag end of UPA regime. BJP in its manifest has clearly stated that they will take a precautionary approach towards GM crops.Its ok to put up propoganda stories but please do verify facts before doing so!

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