The pro-technology Modi government is desperate to introduce genetically modified (GM) crops. It is now holding closed-door meetings with the right wing-affiliated groups – the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and the Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) – to end their opposition to the crops.
“The aim is to dispel fears about GM crops, so that the country can join the U.S., China and Canada. GM crops are very important for India’s agriculture growth,” says a senior agriculture ministry official.
Why are SKM and BKS opposed to the idea?
Like many organisations around the world, SJM and BKS also have raised many concerns. Their main concerns are food and environment safety. They have also raised questions as to whether Bt Cotton with one gene is a failure.
Are the organisations convinced?
One of the scientists attending the meeting told dna: “The questions were very valid and they were not talking like anti-GM activists. They understood what was being explained to them, and in most of the things they seemed to be even convinced.”
Why so much of hurry now?
“It’s high time. India should clear its stand like other nations. You can’t linger on for years like this. More than hundreds of crores are being spent on public research for GM crops, and if you don’t need this technology, why waste time and funds?” he said. If our position is “no”, it should be told openly, so that other alternatives can be worked upon, the official said.
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