Trithesh Nandan | August 4, 2011
Ahead of the release of the standing committee report on genetically modified (GM) foods, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on agriculture, Basudeb Acharya said GM crops are not the panacea for India’s agriculture problem. “GM technology food does not increases production but decreases the loss,” Acharya told reporters on the release of Greenpeace report “Herbicide tolerance and GM crops” on Thursday.
“There is a serious concern on the socioeconomic impacts of GM crops. One cannot label destructive farming as progressive science and force it down the throat of millions,” the chairman said. “On the one hand we have seen how these GM crops are leading to monopoly of the companies like Monsanto in the seed sector on the other hand such technologies like herbicide tolerant GM crops will destroy the rural livelihoods dependent on agriculture.”
Acharya added that the committee will submit a report to parliament on GM foods before the tenure of the present committee expires on August 31. “We have already started drafting of the report. A new committee will come in existence from September 1, so we want to submit report by the end of this month,” the CPM leader pointed out.
The committee received more than 5,000 memoranda on the subject from across the country. There were 25 discussions held on the issue in five states in the last one year as part of the consultation done by the standing committee on agriculture. “All the contentious issues related to GM food crops are there in the forthcoming report. The scientific committee is divided on this issue,” Acharya said. However, he did not comment on the report further.
A report by the Greenpeace India said that use of glyphosate-based herbicides poses risks to human health as well as environment. The report accused multinational biotech companies - Monsanto, Pioneer and Dow Agrosciences of aggressively pushing for herbicide tolerant GM crops in India. “Monsanto has been trying to introduce herbicide tolerant GM maize in India. Presently GM maize field trials are allowed in 11 locations across 8 states in the country,” the report held.
The report compiled from data from the across the globe said, “Glyphosate can cause serious health effects like human birth defects, abnormalities in vital reproductive hormones as well as blood cancer.”
The task force headed by agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan reported, “India should not permit herbicide tolerant GM crops as they would lead to loss of employment in the agriculture sector especially for women whose survival depends on manual weeding.”
“It is shocking that open field trials of such risky crops are being permitted without any safety study being conducted independently,” said Kapil Mishra, sustainable agriculture campaigner for Greenpeace India.
Greenpeace also demanded proposed biotechnology regulatory authority of India (BRAI) bill to be put in the public domain. The BRAI bill is likely to be introduced in this session of parliament.
Air pollution in Delhi has been in headlines, as every year in recent times. Mumbai too has suffered from air pollution, despite being a coastal city. Apart from many other metros such as Bangalore and Kolkata, tier-I and -II cities and rural areas also have high pollution levels. Every year reports and st
The central government will provide free food grains to about 81.35 crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for a period of five years with effect from January 1, 2024, the cabinet decided on Wednesday. Terming it as a “historic decision”, a
Survival at Stake: How Our Treatment of Animals Is Key to Human Existence By Poorva Joshipura HarperCollins, 328 pages, Rs 499 With science now recognising animal consciousness, intelligence, emotion, and even morality, there must rise an awareness of
India`s tryst with trade through the Arctic regions, including the Northern Sea Routes (NSR), has become an impact-making endeavor recently. The Arctic of yore is now a pivot – point of geopolitics, of climate change discussions, and for economic opportunities; 40% of oil and gas reserves said to be
Investing Decoded: Simple Path To Building A Portfolio In Millions By Anirudh Rathore Penguin India, 320 pages, Rs 499
Deepfake has emerged as a serious threat to democracy and social institutions across the world. Propagation of deepfake content via social media platforms has aggravated this challenge. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has, from time to time, advised social media in