Press Esc to close
Wednesday 26 April 2017
News updated at 10:56 PM IST

Panel for 10-yr halt on GM crop trials

Kalyan Ray, October 18, 2012, New Delhi, DHNS: 0:03 IST

Recommends powerful regulatory body

A Supreme Court appointed technical expert committee (TEC) on genetically modified (GM) crops has recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of GM crops and advocated setting up a powerful regulatory system besides conducting studies on long-term impacts of GM crops on food and environment.

The TEC also recommended establishing secluded sites inside the premises of state agriculture universities, Indian Council of Agriculture Research institutes and fields of applicant firms for conducting field trials of GM crops while prohibiting the outsourcing or subcontracting of such trials.

The sites should be used only for growing GM plants and not other regular crops to avoid contamination. Field trials should not be conducted in farmer's fields and this practice should be immediately banned, it said.

The 10-year moratorium was suggested to make space for a detailed food safety evaluation. Several transgenic Bt crops like Bt rice, Bt maize and Bt cauliflower are being developed by institutes. The word Bt comes from the name of a soil microbe whose genes are inserted in the seeds to enable the plant to produce its own pesticide.

The TEC advocated a stronger bio-safety regulator with full-time professionals in place of the existing two-tier regulatory structure comprising the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the Union Environment Ministry.

Both panels have about 30 part-time members – mostly scientists from government institutions – who can devote little time on bio-safety issue as they are preoccupied with other works.

There are allegations of conflict of interest at least in the case of RCGM as the DBT is a promoter of biotechnology.

The Department has spent close to Rs 80 crore on biotechnology research in the last five years and many scientists who sit on RCGM and GEAC are also involved in developing GM crops.

Lack of rigour

“The evaluation process has a set of procedures and steps but is short on substance and requisite rigour,” the panel said in its interim report submitted to the apex court on Wednesday.

It recommended setting up of a panel of scientists, qualified in evaluation of bio-safety data of GM crops for scrutiny and analyses of the safety data. It also recommended removing of conflict of interest from the regulatory bodies.

It favoured the conducting of preliminary bio-safety tests, including sub-chronic toxicity in small animals prior to field trials.

The TEC was set up by the Supreme Court in May while hearing a public interest litigation on GM crops.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Priyanka Chopra at a promotional event for her upcoming film ‘Baywatch’ in Mumbai on Wednesday...

Priyanka Chopra at a promotional event for her upcoming film ‘Baywatch’ in Mumbai on Wednesday...

Maria Sharapova at a training session at the WTA Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany...

Maria Sharapova at a training session at the WTA Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany...

A cake weighing 30 kg is cut as part of celebrations outside BSE as Sensex ended above the...

A cake weighing 30 kg is cut as part of celebrations outside BSE as Sensex ended above the...

Family members of CRPF jawan Naresh Yadav, mourn in Darbhanga on Wednesday. He was martyred in...

Family members of CRPF jawan Naresh Yadav, mourn in Darbhanga on Wednesday. He was martyred in...

Soldiers of the Arctic motorised rifle brigade of Russia's Northern Fleet stand near APCs...

Soldiers of the Arctic motorised rifle brigade of Russia's Northern Fleet stand near APCs...

Blossoming apple trees are covered in snow near Altenstadt, Germany...

Blossoming apple trees are covered in snow near Altenstadt, Germany...

A watermelon vendor takes a nap on a hot day in Chennai on Wednesday...

A watermelon vendor takes a nap on a hot day in Chennai on Wednesday...

A boy jumps into the river Ganga to beat the heat in Kolkata on Wednesday...

A boy jumps into the river Ganga to beat the heat in Kolkata on Wednesday...

A newly-built aircraft carrier is transferred from dry dock into the water at a launch ceremony...

A newly-built aircraft carrier is transferred from dry dock into the water at a launch ceremony...

U.S. Army's M1 A2 tanks fire during the South Korea-U.S. joint military live-fire drills...

U.S. Army's M1 A2 tanks fire during the South Korea-U.S. joint military live-fire drills...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.