Meeting held to discuss the obstruction in GM crops skipped by various states
The Ministry of Environment and Forests held a meeting with representatives from several States to discuss impediments to research in genetically modified crops, the manner in which field trials ought to be conducted and choosing appropriate locations in States that can be designated as test-sites.
Only states to attend the meet were Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, though several more States were invited.
Relevance of Meeting
The move is significant considering that genetically-modified mustard, the first transgenic crop entirely developed by Indian researchers and with public money, has been declared safe for cultivation by a technical committee of India’s apex body that clears GM crop trials.
This has also prompted States such as Bihar — an important cultivator of mustard — to challenge GM mustard.
Arguments in opposition to the clearance of GM Mustard
1. Anti-GM activist groups say that the technical clearance to GM mustard opens the crop to “imminent commercialisation” that will “contaminate” India’s mustard gene pool.
2. They also allege that results of tests on GM mustard weren’t fully open to public scrutiny and the clearance violates recommendations of a Supreme Court-constituted expert committee on how GM crops ought to be tested. The Supreme Court is yet to pass an order on these issues.