The NDA government has decided to allow scientific trials of some GM crops, which it had put on hold, but it would ensure these would strictly adhere to all norms governing such field evaluation.
The government is of the view that the “progress of science” itself cannot be stopped and there is a distinction between scientific evaluations and approval for commercialisation.
“You will see trial of GM crops soon,” environment minister Prakash Javadekar said, in the first official confirmation of the government’s approach of allowing GM crops for trials. The minister said however he had not yet signed off the decision.
The HT had first reported on August 5 that the government is likely to approve field trials. Javadekar had then dropped strong hints that the NDA government is likely to allow controlled field trials of genetically modified crops, while maintaining that it would be cautious when it came to approving them for commercial use.
“How can you stop science, that is the question,” environment minister Prakash Javadekar had told HT about a recent proposal by a regulatory panel to allow trials of some GM crops, a necessary step in product development. Javadekar said this did not automatically amount to government permission for the trials to resume.
The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, a regulatory panel under the environment ministry, recently recommended field trials of 15 GM crops, including rice, chickpea, brinjal and mustard.