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The ongoing debate over proposed introduction of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India has become highly polarised.
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Logically, when two sides are so deeply divided, an impartial regulator can play a key role. But India does not have a full-fledged regulatory body for GM crops.
The so-called regulator – Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) – is actually only a committee in the ministry of environment and forests constituted under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
Like most such panels, it is headed by an IAS officer though the environment ministry is supposed to be a scientific ministry.
If GEAC claims to be a regulator. . .it should have a full-time head.
Its present chairperson was until a month ago a joint secretary in the ministry of water resources and does not know how long she will chair GEAC.
Second, the functioning of this “regulator” is opaque.
There is no record of decisions taken by GEAC after April 25, 2014 on the environment ministry’s website which is otherwise updated in a daily basis. No information is available on the status of pending projects after March 3, 2007.
Read full, original post: Why India’s biotech sector is stuck in a rut