Sharad Pawar bats for GM crops; questions ban imposed by judiciary
Apex court, in 2006, had issued an interim ban on all field trials of GM crops in the country and slammed its regulatory mechanismUpdated: Jan 17, 2020 16:16 IST
Former Union Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Thursday asked whether it was appropriate for the judiciary to interfere in matters related to agriculture and ban genetically modified (GM) crops.
Pawar said he was not questioning the judiciary, but raising an important question nevertheless. He was speaking during the inaugural function of an agricultural exhibition at Baramati in the presence of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and Bollywood star Aamir Khan.
While addressing the farmers, Pawar said, “Previously there was a controversy over GM crops. The judiciary also took some decisions on it. The question is whether there is a need for the judiciary to look into such matters. I am not of the view that everything should be accepted, but anything that is useful for farmers must be accepted.”
Pawar’s remarks were with regards to the Supreme Court verdict banning GM crops. The apex court, in 2006, had issued an interim ban on all field trials of GM crops in the country and slammed its regulatory mechanism.
Approval to new genetically modified crop is offered after evaluation on a case-to-case basis following a thorough scientific evaluation of health and environmental safety under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Rules, 1989.
The NCP chief said India should embrace new research and technology undertaken across the world. “Recently a low water consuming variety of sugarcane has been developed in other counties and we should send our scientists to gather information,” he said.
Visiting Baramati for the first time as chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray in his speech lauded the work carried out by Pawar and said, “We have secured power at the right time and we will jointly work hard to improve the conditions of farmers and promote new technology in agriculture which will benefit the entire country.”
Thackeray also praised the agri-exhibition and the overall development in Baramati. “There were differences between the Shiv Sena and Pawar; but we must applaud the work carried out by the Pawar family in Baramati. They have developed rich cultivation on land that was previously barren,” he said.