After long delay, Indian government considers GMO field trial applications

| | September 4, 2015
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After more than a year, the Prakash Javadekar led Environment Ministry today finally called a meeting of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to decide on field trials for a number of Genetically Modified (GM) crops.

GEAC is the apex body in India that is authorized to approve the use of genetically modified crops or organisms in the country. The GEAC last met on 18th July 2014.

“The GEAC did meet today and certain decisions were taken. However, they cannot be shared at this stage as minutes have to be made and the minister’s approval is required as well”, a senior official from the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) confirmed to ET.

While the last regime treaded rather slowly on the issue of GM crops it has been  under the Modi government as well. While Environment minister Prakash Javadekar has time and again maintained that science cannot be stalled, his ministry has been equally slow on the issue allegedly under pressure from right wing affiliates who have strongly opposed GM crops.

Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw wrote a letter to Principal Secretary to the PM Nripendra Mishra as well saying that the failure to hold GEAC meetings and the consequent breakdown of the regulatory process had forced many to shut or scale down research programmes in agri biotechnology in India.

Pointing out that the GEAC is required to meet at least once each month, Shaw noted it has only met eight times in the last three years and had not considered any agri biotechnology applications since August 2014. The biotech industry is concerned as with the delay in GEAC meetings, the upcoming Kharif season may be lost for field testing.

Read full, original post: Environment ministry holds GEAC meeting on GM field trials 

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