Par panel likely to review clearance for GM mustard's

GM Mustard-Reuters

GM Mustard-Reuters

"Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways".

A GEAC subcommittee had past year looked at dossiers of data furnished by scientists and observed that the GM mustard was safe for human and animal consumption and did not raise public health or safety concerns. It has given a positive recommendation.

After the approval of GM Mustard cultivation, it will come closer to be first GM harvest; the GM mustard was developed by Delhi University.

The approval is now due with the Environment Minister and once it gets clearance, GM Mustard will be the first genetically modified food crop to be cultivated in India.

Fact: What are GM crops? However, the GEAC has also put a number of conditions before the ministry while recommending its commercial use. The GEAC had earlier in 2010 cleared the Bt Brinjal but the decision was not accepted by then environment minister Jairam Ramesh.

The application was submitted in 2015 after which several rounds of meeting were held by the GEAC.

Plant molecular biologist Deepak Pental, who led the scientific team that developed the GM mustard, has said the technology was independently assessed through field trials by agricultural scientists and the data sent to the GEAC after extensive studies. The GEAC had subsequently set up a sub-committee to examine the safety aspect of the use of transgenic variety of the mustard. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is also hearing a petition on commercial release of GM crops and what view the court takes will have a bearing on the government's policy.

Meanwhile, civil society groups are clearly not pleased with the decision and spoke about the ill-effects of genetically modified crops on humans and the environment.

The "Sarson Satyagraha", a broad platform of hundreds of NGOs representing farmers, consumers, scientists and others that has been at the forefront of resisting the approval of GM mustard in India' too condemned the green signal to the herbicide tolerant GM Mustard.

Bt Brinjal was created in 2005 by Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco); American MNC Monsanto claimed that yield has improved.

Today's decision, which numerous anti-GM activists were unaware of, got sharp reactions from Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM).

Molecular biologist Pushpa M Bhargava had called the introduction of GM Mustard to be "disastrous" saying it would eventually open the doors for multinational corporations to control India's agriculture.

"We have told the government that we are studying it..."

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