The newly appointed Science and Technology Minister, S Jaipal Reddy today said science was not clear yet on the issue of GM crops and it should not be treated as an ideological issue.

“I think the problem of GM crops is under discussion at the global level. Scientific consensus has not finally emerged. Debate is on at a global level. Science is not clear yet,” he said here.

He said a panel of experts appointed by the Supreme Court had submitted an interim report on GM crops to the apex court recently.

“I don’t think it should be treated as an ideological issue but as a scientific issue...The ministry requires more time to study the interim report,” Reddy said, adding that he was not in a position to give a final view on an interim report.

His remarks come in the wake of a statement earlier this month by the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister, headed by eminent scientist C N R Rao, favouring introduction of GM crops.

The science panel had argued that technology had potential to transform Indian agriculture.

The SAC0-PM had underscored the need to improve the regulatory structure on genetically modified farm produce.

Reddy said Indian science was at an advanced stage to engage and participate in the global debate on the issue.

A raging debate is on within and outside the Supreme Court on the safety and efficacy of GM crops with scientists pitted in favour and against transgenic food.

Anti-GM crops activists have launched a shrill campaign to push for a ban on genetically modified crops and the issue is before the Supreme Court.

(This article was published on October 29, 2012)
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