ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Genetically Modified Mustard and India's Future

Genetically modified mustard, if approved, will be the first such food crop to be commercially released in India. This will open the floodgates for other such crops making India one of the largest users of genetically modified crops in the world in the next 10 to 12 years. Given that its agriculture is largely in the hands of multinational seed and agrochemical companies, India will end up bartering its freedom for the benefit of a few and the misery of the rest.

Genetic engineering (or modification) technology is one of the most powerful technologies invented in the 20th century. It has made drugs that were not available earlier, such as human insulin, affordable. But genetically modified (GM) crops pose substantial risks to human, animal and plant health, and to the environment and biodiversity. These risks are ignored by governments, especially by the United States (US) government, as the technology can also benefit multinational corporations (MNCs) and help acquire control of another country’s agriculture. The Indian government’s support to GM-mustard ignores the scientific strength of the opposition to it and merely makes a show of following prescribed rules and procedures.

Whosoever controls food production around the world effectively controls the world. To do so, one only needs to control production of seeds and agrochemicals. For the latter, the system of intellectual property rights (IPRs) applicable to other chemical entities, which has been in place for decades, is enough. To control seed production, genetic engineering or genetic modification has been touted as the best possible approach under the garb of providing an advantage that no other technology would appear to provide.

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