Bt eggplants (brinjal) in India


Since 1999 GENET collects and distributes information on various topics in the field of genetic engineering in agriculture, food production and health. With this "Special Topic: Bt Brinjal in India" GENET aims at providing an overview about the debate on development and approval of Bt brinjal in this country, based on our archives.

2012-11-30 |

Resistance sprouts against Bt maize in Punjab (India)

Even as Punjab government is showing keenness to introduce Bt maize in the state by giving go-ahead to Monsanto to set up a research and development centre for the crop, the decision has ruffled feathers of environmentalists who are grouping for an agitation against it. While farmer groups are divided on the issue of introduction of Bt maize, Kheti Virasat Mission, an environment organization that led the front for banning of Bt brinjal, is up in arms against the government and planning to hit the streets in protest. "No state in the country has given a go-ahead to Bt maize as its detrimental impact on health, if it enters food chain, is well documented. [...]" said Umendera Dutt, heading Kheti Virasat Mission.

2012-11-23 |

Indian scientists, activists and farmers demand removal of top GM researcher

The controversy surrounding GM food crops in the country shows no signs of cooling down. Even as the debate over field trials of genetically modified crops rages, a group of scientists, activists and farmers’ associations has demanded removal of a top GM researcher caught in a false patent claim. In a letter to agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture has sought action against Dr K.C. Bansal, head of India’s gene bank, for making a false claim about filing a patent on GM brinjal to grab a top award in 2009, as reported in Mail Today on October 29.

2012-11-23 |

Transfer of officer probing Bt brinjal bio-piracy case in India raises eyebrows

The State government has kicked up a row by transferring the deputy conservator of forests (DCF) probing the controversy of bio-piracy, involving Mahyco and University of Agriculture Sciences, Dharwad. Another officer has refused to be a complainant, thus violating the Biodiversity norms. Y Chakrapani, a second complainant and the investigating officer, has been transferred to Raichur as DCF (territorial) on November 5. The transfer comes just a month after the High Court opined that protests should be staged in front of the US Consulate against bio-piracy. High Court Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen, on October 16, during the hearing of a petition by Environment Support Group (ESG) seeking action against bio-piracy, had said, “Dharnas must be organised against the United States of America for its continued intransigence in complying with global biodiversity norms. This might perhaps be the best solution to the problems of global biodiversity conservation.”

2012-11-12 |

Scientists and farmers groups write to Supreme Court on TEC report on GM crops

Close to 100 scientists from across the country and several farmers groups have appealed to the Supreme Court to accept in toto the interim report of the court-appointed Technical Expert Committee in the matter of field trials of genetically modified crops. In its interim report submitted to the court, the panel had recommended a ban on field trials of GM crops until the regulatory system was completely overhauled. It also called for a 10-year moratorium on field trials of Bt food crops (which are modified with the Bacillus thuringiensis gene, such as the proposed Bt Brinjal), and a complete ban on field trials of transgenics in crops which originate in India.

2012-11-06 |

Top Indian GM researcher falsified patent claim to grab national award

A top scientist engaged in research on genetically modified food crops has been found to have falsified claims about patents to grab a national award. The scientist, Dr Kailash C. Bansal, was given the prestigious Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award for ”outstanding research” in transgenic crops for the year 2007-2008 on the basis of claims that he had”filed three patents for novel gene discovery”, including one on transgenic brinjal . In reality, no such patent application or patent existed when he was given the award on July 16, 2009.

2012-10-24 |

Is GM crop in India headed the US clean tech way?

It’s a sad year for agri-tech in India. Exactly a decade after the first genetically modified (GM) crop, Bt Cotton, was introduced in the country, the technology itself is being threatened. It’s riskier than conventional breeding no doubt but it doesn’t deserve to be put in the cold storage for 10 years as the Supreme Court is contemplating. The sorry state of affairs of GM technology resembles what’s happening to clean-tech in the US–a few bad moves and the whole programme is tarnished. Last week a Supreme Court-appointed scientific panel recommended that India impose a 10-year moratorium on open field trials of GM crops. It is important to recall that even when Jairam Ramesh imposed a moratorium on the release of Bt Brinjal in February 2010, he did not stop field trials of other crops, either from public institutions or private companies.

2012-10-18 |

Panel of Indian scientists recommends ten-year moratorium on field trials of all GM crops

A panel of scientists set up on the orders of the Supreme Court has recommended a ten-year moratorium on field trials of all genetically modified or Bt food crops. The six-member committee of technical experts set up by the Supreme Court came to this conclusion on the basis of the current overall status of food safety evaluation of Bt transgenics, including a review of the data on Bt cotton and Bt brinjal. The panel submitted an unanimous report calling for moratorium till specific sites for conducting field trials have been designated and certified, and sufficient mechanisms for monitoring the trials put in place.

2012-09-04 |

Genetically modified products flood Indian foodchains, buyers unaware

If you think the debate over genetically modified crops has ended with Union minister Jairam Ramesh settling for a two-year moratorium on the commercial release of Bt-Brinjal, Dr Pushpa Bhargava has some shocking facts for you. According to Bhargava, who's considered as the father of genetic engineering in India, the battle is far from over since GM products, mostly from the US, are flooding markets of big cities like Kolkata through big food chains. Bhargava, who spoke on the agrarian crisis and GM crops at an event organized by the Forum Against Monopolistic Aggression on Thursday, pointed out that 70% of imported food products are genetically modified in the USA. But unfortunately, there is not a single laboratory in India to test GM food products.

2012-08-09 |

Bar GM food crops, says Indian parliamentary panel

In a major setback to the proponents of genetically modified technology in farm crops, the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture on Thursday asked the government to stop all field trials and sought a bar on GM food crops (such as Bt. brinjal). The committee report, tabled in the Lok Sabha, demanded a ”thorough probe” into how permission was given to commercialise Bt. brinjal seed when all evaluation tests were not carried out. It said there were indications of a ”collusion of the worst kind from the beginning till the imposition of a moratorium on its commercialisation in February, 2010, by the then Minister for Environment and Forests.”

2012-06-25 |

Genetically modified India - the debate on GE crops is back

The debate over regulating genetically modified crops in India is back after two years of silence that followed the moratorium on the Bt brinjal, a genetically modified eggplant. This is thanks to the government’s wavering policy on agricultural biotechnology. [...] The government released its report on the hills of the Western Ghats nearly nine months after the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel submitted it, and then only under a court order. The report, among other things, warned that genetically modified organisms were a threat to biodiversity in India. The government attached a disclaimer to the report, saying that it has not formally accepted the conclusions.

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