TN not to promote Bt Cotton

Jaya reverses decision after farmers request

The AIADMK had in its budget last week announced that Bt cotton will be among other commercial crops that will be “aggressively promoted” to increase overall agricultural productivity and profitability to pull Tamil Nadu out of a negative growth rate.
However, several farmers and MLAs had pointed out that growing Bt cotton would lead to “multiple problems”.

“They urged that the state should not fund or encourage any scheme for its promotion,” the chief minister told the Assembly, making a suo motu statement.  

Jayalalitha made clear that the budgetary reference to Bt cotton was based on the fact that the Centre’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee had cleared it for commercial cultivation. Hence, many farmers across several states were cultivating Bt cotton with seeds privately sourced, she said.

But with stiff opposition from farmers and MLAs in Tamil Nadu who felt that neither profitability nor success of Bt cotton could be guaranteed, and that it could have other harmful effects as well, the chief minister said in deference to their plea: “My government will not promote Bt cotton cultivation”.

In another intervention in the budgetary debate, Jayalalitha lashed out at the UPA regime in Delhi for starving Tamil Nadu of funds. “Except for value added tax (VAT) and some commercial taxes, all the revenue-generating powers are still with the Government of India,” she said.

“We want to do much more for the people but at this juncture, the Centre is utterly indifferent to the fiscal plight of Tamil Nadu; our hands are tied by the huge fiscal deficit.

Yet we will do as much as we can, breaking these shackles within the democratic framework,” Jayalalitha asserted in the House. Her anguish was over the Centre keeping mum to the special financial assistance sought this year to help implement the welfare schemes and freebies promised in her party’s poll manifesto.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get the top news in your inbox
Comments (+)