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.

2012-06-14 |

Indian Rural Development Minister moots government study on GM crops as sustainable option

Noting that Bt Cotton has contributed a "structural transformation" in the farming sector, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Tuesday suggested a government study to ascertain that genetically modified crops are a sustainable option. Ramesh, however, stressed that his decision during his stint as Environment Minister to put a moratorium on Bt Brinjal was "right" and "history will vindicate" it. "The fact is that over 95 per cent of the farmers in states after state have adopted Bt Cotton....Why our farmers are doing this? Obviously, they are doing it because returns have increased," Ramesh said rejecting "the conspiritorial view" that farmers were cultivating Bt Brinjal as non-Bt seed had been elbowed out of market.

2012-05-30 |

Indian National Biodiversity Authority is going to launch brinjal biopiracy complaint against Monsanto

The controversy surrounding Bt brinjal, the first genetically modified food crop developed in India, has turned murkier with the National Biodiversity Authority planning to launch prosecution against a seed company for alleged bio-piracy. The National Bio-diversity Authority, which regulates matters pertaining to biodiversity protection, conservation and use in India, will lodge a complaint against the alleged violators of the Biological Diversity Act for “bio-piracy in promoting Bt brinjal”.

2012-04-17 |

BT brinjal row: Indian National Biodiversity Authority decides to prosecute Monsanto

The National Biodiversity Authority, the country’s biodiversity-preservation watchdog, has finally woken up to its job. It has decided to prosecute multinational seed company Monsanto for allegedly using Indian brinjal varieties for commercial purposes without permission. The decision was taken in a vote at a meeting on February 28, 2012. The majority of the members voted in favour of initiating action against Monsanto for violating India’s biodiversity law. [...] The vote was essential as some board members of the NBA were against holding Monsanto to task, sources said.

2012-04-16 |

Most of larger Indian States say no to GE crop trials

Like many other state governments Rajasthan government also felt that unless the Central government decides on the fate of GM food crops such as BT Brinjal, on whose commercial release environment ministry issued a moratorium in 2010, the field trials may not be allowed. Most of the bigger states such as Bihar, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal had refused to give no-objection certificate for field trials. In the wake of ban, big bio-technology companies have not been left with many options to conduct field trials of genetically modified food crops such as tomato, cabbage and maize. The only viable option is Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh

2012-03-21 |

Did Indian experts slip on basics of Bt brinjal science and risk assessment?

The report by reputed geneticist and biosafety expert Jack A Heinemann has been submitted to the Minister of Environment and Forests, Jayanthi Natarajan, under whose charge GEAC functions. [...] His evaluation has vindicated once again the decision taken by Natarajan’s predecessor Jairam Ramesh in February 2010 to put on hold the commercial release of Mahyco’s Bt brinjal despite GEAC’s approval in 2009. Heinemann is the latest in a series of international scientists who have pointed out flaws in the Mahyco dossier on its EE-1 event.

2012-03-21 |

Indian former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and the ”foreign hand” - Decide for yourself

The decision to deny approval of Bt brinjal was made by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh. [...] Ramesh organized an unusually open consultation process — much more open than any other decision-making process I have ever seen on GMO’s. He solicited opinions from state governments, scientists, farmer organzations, and Indian NGO’s. He held open forums which were well attended; a lot of them are on Youtube and are pretty interesting viewing (Ramesh often challenges anti-GMO claims). Ramesh — who was moved to a different cabinet post soon after his decision — has provided a careful explanation of his decision.

2012-03-05 |

Indian Bt cotton fiasco and heaps of shame

The disgraceful conduct of public sector scientists in faking an indigenous Bt cotton variety based on one of India’s more successful cotton variety Bikaneri Narma once again brings heaps of shame to the Indian scientific community. [...] All the Bt cottons released in India, some 360 plus now, are from the private sector and they are all hybrids. There is not a single Bt cotton from the public sector labs to reach the market. [...] The last time our biotechnology enthusiasts had covered themselves with glory was in the Bt brinjal case when stalwarts of the six science academies of the country had put together a cut and paste document with material plagiarised from promotional material brought out in support of GM technology and Bt crops.

2012-02-06 |

Indian meeting on GE crops for food security

Foundation for Biotechnology Awareness and Education and the Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises will hold a conference on ‘Biotechnology crops for food security in India' in February 27 in Bangalore. [...] ”The moratorium on Bt brinjal and delay in functionalising Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India are results of opposition by anti-technology activists. This is keeping us away from benefiting from biotech,” FBAE said.

2012-01-11 |

Brouhaha over Bt brinjal nothing but political according to U.S. scientist

Globally renowned social scientist, Ronald Herring, who is acclaimed the world over for his extensive and enlightening study on agriculture in South Asian countries including India, termed the brouhaha over Bt brinjal as nothing less than a political ‘tamasha’ and vehemently urged the stakeholders to respond more compassionately to the needs for food security in the country. [...] “We have seen in India how farmers have been benefited by Bt cotton crops. There is no evidence which says that farmers commit suicide due to failure of Bt cotton crops,” said Herring.

2011-12-23 |

Indian GM research being conducted on 72 plant species

“According to information available with ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), research related to genetic modification is currently being carried out in 72 crops/plant species,” Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat said in a written reply to Lok Sabha. GM research is being carried in cotton, soyabean, rice, maize, wheat, sorghum, potato, brinjal, tomato, sugarcane, castor, blackgram, sunflower, jute, coffee, mustard, onion, ginger, tobacco, and chilli, among others, he added. “The traits being examined in these crop plants are abiotic and biotic stresses resistance, nutritional quality improvement, yield improvement etc,” the minister said.

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