Economy

Campaign launched against biotech Bill

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 25, 2013 Published on June 25, 2013




The Coalition for GM Free India along various farmer unions and political parties launched a nation-wide campaign demanding that the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill, 2013 be withdrawn immediately.

The campaign was launched at Jantar Mantar in Delhi and attended by farmers, civil society activists and political leaders such as Sitaram Yechury, Politburo member and leader of CPI (M) in Rajya Sabha, Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Admi Party and K.N. Govindacharya of the Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan.

The BRAI Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the Budget session by the Ministry of Science and Technology, despite opposition from both within and outside Parliament. At present, the BRAI Bill is under review by the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, chaired by T. Subbarami Reddy of Congress.

The Bill proposes a single window clearance mechanism for genetically modified crops, which the activists claim are a threat to human health, biodiversity and farm livelihoods. The Bill works in the interest of biotech seed companies such as Monsanto by avoiding deterrent liability mechanisms or public scrutiny, they claimed.

At present, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee receives and gives permissions for field trials of GM crops after the companies received no-objection from respective States.

A group of 16 members of Parliament (MPs) recently alleged that the Government was trying to circumvent the opposition on the GM crops across the country and had demanded the withdrawal of the Bill and suggested introducing a bio safety protection law in its place.

Published on June 25, 2013
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