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India needs GM food crops to boost farm productivity, says GM supporter

| | September 18, 2012
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.
It’s important to understand this background of the Left in India and the CPM and its philosophy in particular to appreciate the body blow the party’s leaders are trying to land on the future of India’s agriculture sector and livelihood of farmers. Proletariat-friendly “internationalism” is the creed of this political party, and they are prepared to sacrifice what is India’s national interest and the interest of farmers in the dogmatic pursuit of their ideology.
Last month, Basudev Acharia, CPM Leader in Lok Sabha and chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, submitted a 500-page report to Parliament supporting an outright ban on field trials of genetically-modified (GM) food crops in India. The report, purportedly prepared with extensive consultations across stakeholders from the scientific, agriculture, business and policy communities, cites “the gross inadequacy of the regulatory mechanism, the total absence of post-release surveillance and monitoring” as reasons for stopping all trials.
But is this a reasonable policy prescription? Why doesn’t the committee recommend in concrete, time-bound terms instead what the mechanisms for regulation, surveillance and monitoring might be to ensure that a balance is struck between driving agricultural productivity and environmental sensitivity? After three years of work and consultations with 50 experts from different stakeholder communities, is this what the committee came up with? It is precisely such shallow, blinkered thinking at the highest levels that is becoming the bane of India’s economic rise, and consigning tens of millions into poverty and destitution for life.
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