Activists accuse Indian regulators of lack of transparency on GMO mustard

| | May 11, 2016
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A top government body authorised to regulate the use of genetically modified crops or organisms in India has been actively denying data sought under the Right To Information Act in violation of several Supreme Court and Central Information Commission orders, which underlined the need for transparent decision-making with regard to GMOs. The secrecy the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee has adopted regarding approvals for the commercial cultivation of GM mustard in the country has raised questions around what the regulator – which falls under the Union environment ministry – seeks to hide, and whose interests it is seeking to protect.

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In the past. . . regulators were not only forced to share complete data on official websites but also to undertake processes that allowed the public to participate in the regulatory analysis of data submitted. . . . Data was forced out of the regulators in the case of Bt brinjal in late 2008, followed by a public debate that assisted the regulatory processes and, in 2010, despite a regulatory green signal to Bt brinjal, it was placed under an indefinite moratorium by the Government of India. Central to these developments was public scientific scrutiny of biosafety data.

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But last year, the regulator repeatedly stalled attempts by this author for a copy of the biosafety dossier related to a GM mustard hybrid. . . . If approved for commercial cultivation, this would be the first transgenic food crop to be allowed in India. The significance of mustard and its many uses for people all across India cannot be stressed enough in this context.

Read full, original post: Why is the regulator for GM crops in India ignoring Supreme Court orders to ensure transparency

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