Junior Ag bureaucrat secretly approves GM Mustard in India despite official ban (FF)

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Drew Wilson, Mar 22, 2012.

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  1. Drew Wilson

    Drew Wilson AKA IceCube Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    The state of Rajasthan, India, is in the eye of a storm over its policy on genetically manipulated (GM) crops. Questions are being raised over how a junior official in the department of agriculture gave permission for field trials of GM mustard even before the regulator had approved these, and how these are being conducted without the knowledge of the State Biotechnology Coordination Committee (SBCC), which is mandated to monitor the trials.

    “On March 9th, the No-Objection-Certificate was withdrawn and the crop ordered to be destroyed,” confirmed Anil Gupta, Deputy Secretary, Dept. of Agriculture (from DNA India, Jaipur edition, p.1)

    But there are red faces in Jaipur Mantralaya over another issue: the delay in notifying the government’s decision to ban GM field trials that was taken over a month ago.

    Down To Earth (DTE) learns that the government had decided to place a moratorium on field trials of GM crops in the state, following in the footsteps of several other states that imposed a ban last year. On February 13, the moratorium was signed by Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Harji Ram Burdak but the order appears to have been caught in a bureaucratic snarl. Official sources disclosed that the order is winding its way through officialdom but should be made public in a week’s time.

    The hold-up is on account of a technicality. Although Burdak has signed the order, it has to be also endorsed by the minister holding charge of technical education (agriculture) Murari Lal Meena, presumably because it is relevant for the agriculture universities in the state. After it gets Meena’s approval, letters will be sent to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) apart from the state agriculture universities, one of which is now supervising the GM mustard field trials.

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