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

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GM Crop Debate Continues

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The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests recently submitted its report on Genetically Modified Crops and Its Impact on Environment, under the chair of Renuka Chowdhury. The observations made in the report are not very different from the earlier report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee chaired by Basudeb Acharia. Both these reports have raised a number of questions relating to the impact on biodiversity and the environment, as well as health and socio-economic conditions of farmers, that are yet to be addressed by the regulatory bodies. According to the report, the farmers have not achieved any significant socio-economic benefits as a result of the introduction of Bt cotton. On the contrary, following the capital-intensive agricultural practice, indebtedness among farmers has increased, exposing them to greater risks. The committees have, therefore, recommended taking into consideration the long-term effects of genetically modified (GM) crops on biodiversity, health and socio-economic conditions of farmers, before introducing field trials.

As far as the positions of stakeholders of GM crops are concerned, there is no consensus among them. Most of the scientists working in government institutes, or holding positions in regulatory bodies have been supporting the use of GM technology, and want field trials for other crops approved. They are of the opinion that denying, or delaying permissions for field trials by the government is equivalent to imposing restrictions on the independent conduct of science.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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