Genetically Modified Corps/Food Controversy In India

The country’s biotechnology regulator, genetic engineering appraisal committee (GEAC),which functions under the Environment Ministry, has approved the environmental release and cultivation by farmers of DMH-11. It is a genetically modified (GM) hybrid mustard developed by scientists at Delhi University. The GEAC also took same decision for the commercial release of Bt brinjal which was overturned in February 2010 by the then Environment Minister Jai Ram Ramesh who assumed the role of regulator and ordered a moratorium on the transgenic vegetable’s cultivation.

The present matter of DMH-11 is now on the environment ministry’s table.The ministry will decide about the future of DMH-1. On this context,we try to examine and explore the condition of GM corpse in India. In 1966-67, then Union Minister for Food and Agriculture Chidambaram Subramaniam decided to import 18,000 tones of seeds of  Lerma Rojo 64A and Sonora 64 wheat from Mexico. They were supposed to be planted in about 2,40,000 hectares in the 1966-67 Rabi season. And the seeds arrived on time.  Between 1965-66 and 1967-68, because of it,India’s wheat production grew from 10.4 million tones (mt) to over 16.5 mt, surpassing 20 mt in the next two years. Thus was born the Green Revolution.

Subramaniam received a flood of criticism when he proposed what was the largest import of seeds ever undertaken in world history. Planning Commission member V.K.R.V. Rao saw it as a waste of foreign exchange for a country already short of reserves. It was believed that Indian farmers wouldn’t accept the Mexican semi-dwarf wheat, as they might yield less Bhusa (straw). But the results were better in terms of producing more grain as well as Bhusa per hectare than the traditional tall, lodging-prone cultivators. Many years later, Atal Bihari Vajpayee showed similar willingness when his government approved the commercial cultivation of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton.

Just Mexican wheat increased India’s wheat output in four, similarly, Bt cotton almost trebled domestic production from 136 lakh bales (lb) to 398 lb between 2002-03 and 2013-14, and the country turned from a net importer of roughly 17 lb to a net exporter of over 105 lb. India has resisted and has shown reluctance to GM food production till now there have been instances of GM food being imported into the country (including baby food, corn, and breakfast cereal, which have been introduced without adherence to relevant labeling laws). No State government in India has permitted commercial cultivation of GM food till now.

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