Union environment ministry on Thursday denied reports that a go-ahead has been given to GM mustard’s commercialisation, saying that “no final decision has been taken as yet on the issue.” The ministry
Union environment ministry on Thursday denied reports that a go-ahead has been given to GM mustard’s commercialisation, saying that “no final decision has been taken as yet on the issue.” The ministry also said that safety details regarding the crop would soon be put in the public domain, hinting that the Centre would come out clear on their stand.
The chief information commission has been critical of the Union environment ministry for its lack of transparency on GM crops’ trials.
The GM mustard — DMH 11 — has been developed by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants, University of Delhi, led by former DU V-C Deepak Pental. If it gets green light from the environment ministry’s genetic engineering approval committee (GEAC), it will be the first GM food crop to be commercially cultivated in India. Presently, only GM cotton is allowed. There are difference of opinions on the introduction of GM crops. While its advocates are of the view that it gives 30 per cent higher yields, opponents dismiss the claims, saying there is no scientific evidence for it.
Union environment ministry on Thursday said: “A section of the media has carried inaccurate reports that GEAC in the ministry has granted approval to GM mustard. The GEAC, in a meeting held on 11 August, 2016, has examined the safety document prepared by the sub-committee of the GEAC... The GEAC has appraised the safety document prepared by the sub-committee and it will be put it up on the website of GEAC inviting comments from the public.”
The issue is now expected to be discussed during GEAC’s meeting in September. GEAC is environment ministry’s regulator for GMOs and transgenic products. After GEAC’s nod, the final call has to come from the environment ministry.
Meanwhile, Union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave on Thursday said: “Whichever will benefit the farmers, whichever will reduce their input cost, whichever increases their production, that is our line of thinking. We will see to it that at the end, farmers do not have to invest 12-14 per cent inputs costs particularly for seeds. We want to reduce this. At the same time, farmers should not have to lose their crop as well. We are looking at all these issues. We will look towards agriculture holistically and completely.”