For food security, GM crops not the only route: Jairam | delhi | Hindustan Times
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For food security, GM crops not the only route: Jairam

For the first time since suspending Bt brinjal, a decision that pitted him against the biotech industry, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh shared a platform with the industry’s leaders who are seeking to reconnect with him.

delhi Updated: Aug 20, 2010 00:58 IST
Zia Haq

For the first time since suspending Bt brinjal, a decision that pitted him against the biotech industry, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh shared a platform with the industry’s leaders who are seeking to reconnect with him.

Ramesh, however, set the record straight: “For food security, genetically modified crops are not the only route but they are an important component. The Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill is a huge step forward for the integrity of environmental assessment process, safety, efficacy and public interest.”

The Cabinet on Monday cleared the BRAI Bill for introduction in Parliament in the next few days. Giving an insight into the new mechanism that will govern GM crops, Ramesh said safety and commercial clearances will be handled by separate agencies.

“To deal with the issue of commercialisation we will have separate bodies, but the BRAI will deal comprehensively and credibly with the issues of safety,” he said. Ramesh on Wednesday evening presided over the launch of the Association of Biotech-led Enterprises-Agriculture Group (ABLE-AG), an industry advocacy group comprising principal biotech players in India.

Ramesh said provisions of the BRAI Bill were being widely, often wrongly, speculated.

“Once the Bill is introduced (in Parliament) it will address the concerns of the civil society groups (who think) that it (the Bill) will open the floodgates for all GM foods. This is just an exaggerated notion.”

Key UPA ministers have been sharply divided on GM food crops. While Ramesh had advocated caution, Farm Minister Sharad Pawar has said meeting growing food demands hinged on technologies, such as GM crops.