Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.
Experts have slammed a recent move of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) giving its greenlight for biosafety research-level-II (BRL-II) field trials for Event 142, a new variety of genetically modified brinjal (Bt brinjal).
Why this is a matter of concern?
This new variety of genetically modified brinjal was quietly given approval without any data in the public domain. This variety got approved even before the second season BRL-II and the biosafety report was out.
- This paved the way for crop developers and applicants to seek permission for commercial cultivation.
- There was no transparencyin the manner when it came to reports regarding the biosafety of this variety of brinjal.
What is a GM crop?
A GM or transgenic crop is a plant that has a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.
For example, a GM crop can contain a gene(s) that has been artificially inserted instead of the plant acquiring it through pollination.
- The resulting plant is said to be “genetically modified” although in reality all crops have been “genetically modified” from their original wild state by domestication, selection, and controlled breeding over long periods of time.
What is the legal position of genetically modified crops in India?
In India, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body that allows for commercial release of GM crops.
Penalty: Use of the unapproved GM variant can attract a jail term of 5 years and fine of Rs 1 lakh under the Environmental Protection Act ,1986.
Why are farmers rooting for GM crops?
Reduced costs: Cost of weeding goes down considerably if farmers grow Ht Bt cotton and use glyphosate against weeds. In case of Bt brinjal, the cost reduces as the cost of production is reduced by cutting down on the use of pesticides.
Environmentalists argue that the long-lasting effect of GM crops is yet to be studied and thus they should not be released commercially. Genetic modification, they say, brings about changes that can be harmful to humans in the long run.
- GEAC- establishment, composition and functions.
- Is it a statutory body?
- Bt Crops allowed in India.
What can be the geopolitical and geo-economic consequences of COVID-19? Discuss.
Sources: down to earth.