India needs informed debate towards common goal of food security on GM crop trials

As India asserts its position globally, it must develop and use the best technologies for the benefit of Indian farmers for long-term agriculture sustainability. A written biotech policy of the government of India, drafted by a committee headed by MS Swaminathan ten years ago, clearly supports the use of GM technology in all crops including food crops. Since 2010, there is a wide gap between the policy and the implementation, which has caused uncertainty in technology deployment and investments, and has put further scientific work in jeopardy.

The government spends thousands of crores of rupees every year including ongoing work in public institutions on GM technology. If the policy and the government investments are pointing to one direction and the implementation is pointing to another, what message are we giving to the researchers, investors, corporates and even biotech students who are pursuing this technology? There is a complete demoralisation in the ranks of all these sections of society.

There are many technological traits available in the GM space which could be of great use to India in the coming years in its effort to fight drought, salinity, high fertiliser subsidy, improving agricultural productivity and so on. There is need for a serious debate on the entire crop portfolio of the country, the priority crops for GM technology interventions, the priority GM traits which will be essential for the country and the areas where GM technology will not be necessary or will not be allowed.

Read the full, original article: Time for an informed debate on GM trials

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