A government panel has cleared commercial use of what would be India’s first genetically modified (GM) food crop, but the political establishment will still have to give final approvals amid wide-spread public opposition to the technology.
Technical clearance for indigenously developed GM mustard seeds was given on August 11 by the panel of government and independent experts following multiple reviews of crop trial data generated over almost a decade, said two sources with direct knowledge of the matter. In keeping with its commitment to the Supreme Court that has stayed a decision on commercial release till October 17, the government is looking to reengage public opinion and non-government organisations. A sub-committee of the central biotech regulator Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has, meanwhile, been examining the 800-odd stakeholders' comments it received during the 30-day period (September 5 October 5). The decision to go ahead is likely to be made public soon by the environment ministry’s genetic engineering approval committee and is expected eventually to move to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s desk via environment minister Anil Madhav Dave.
Source: hindustantimes.com, Timesofindia.indiatimes.com