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.

2010-03-09 |

No Bt brinjal till independent studies clears safety says Indian Government

The government today said a moratorium on Bt brinjal has been imposed till independent scientific studies establish its safety to the satisfaction of both the public and professionals. ”The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) in consultation with eminent scientists would draw up fresh protocols for specific tests to establish safety of the genetically-tweaked vegetable,” environment minister Jairam Ramesh said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

2010-03-05 |

Indian scientists develop new Bt brinjal, Bt rice and other GE crops

Currently under controlled field trials - the second stage of strict examination of any transgenic seed - genetically modified (GM) drought trait rice would take at least 8 years for commercialisation in India, said
GM rice has already completed polyhouse test - the crop grown under lock and key - successfully which is the first stage of examination. [...] By 2010-11, the test will enter into open field trials under strict government control which will run at least for two years.

2010-03-05 |

India’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee may propose safety check for Bt brinjal

India’s Genetic Engineering Approval Committee is likely to propose an extended test to determine the safety of genetically modified brinjal, said a person associated with the apex body to clear GM crops. The test involves feeding rats with Bt brinjal, a GM variety, for 180 days, compared with the current 90 days. This is likely to extend the period of evaluation for safety by a year.

2010-02-25 |

Legal struggle in India for transperancy of GMO approval procedures

When Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests, announced his decision not to go ahead with the commercialisation of GM (genetically modified) brinjal, the concerned sections of civil society felt a huge sense of relief. This limited success of civil society would not have been possible but for the sustained efforts of two petitioners and their counsel to seek the Supreme Court’s intervention at every stage in order to make the government accountable.

2010-02-25 |

Indian Prime Minister supports Bt brinjal moratorium, but time frame needs to be set

Appealing to his warring colleagues to ”speak with one voice” on the issue of biotechnology in food security and genetically modified (GM) crops including Bt brinjal, Dr. Singh appeared to back the moratorium decision but emphasised that the process could not be open-ended, adding a time frame would have to be set. It was clarified that the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, would remain the body to address ”concerns for resolving all scientific issues relating to Bt brinjal including safety aspects.”

2010-02-25 |

Indian Prime Minister steps in after SOS from Agriculture Minister

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stepped in to make it clear that Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh will not have the last word on the introduction of Bt Brinjal or any GM (genetically modified) food.This comes after a strong note from Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to the Prime Minister last week suggesting that ad hoc decisions on GM foods — a clear reference to the moratorium on Bt Brinjal — would ”set the clock back”, demoralise Indian scientists and jeopardies R&D crucial to food security.

2010-02-23 |

Indian companies advised to keep Bt brinjal seeds off the market

Companies with any seeds of Bt brinjal, the genetically modified version of the vegetable, will have to register the details with the government, to ensure none of it is sowed or otherwise gets into the market. [...] the apex Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee decided the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources should be asked to store all the Bt brinjal seeds.

2010-02-23 |

University of Agricultural Sciences (India) accused to give genetic resources to foreign companies

In a letter to all members of the biodiversity board and the environment ministry, including Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, the environmentalists have accused UAS, Dharwad and its developing partners Mahyco and Sathguru (a front company of US Agency for International Development— USAID) of blatantly violating the Biodiversity Act, while Bt brinjal was being developed by them for commercial and environmental release.

2010-02-23 |

Indian Ministry of Science used ISAAA text in letter supporting GE crops

The pro-Bt brinjal view in the ministry of science and technology seems to be on shaky ethical ground. Investigations reveal that the department’s minister Prithviraj Chavan - a vocal supporter of genetically engineered crops - copied and quoted in an official letter material from reports published by a lobbying outfit [ISAAA] funded by seed companies including Monsanto and Mahyco.

2010-02-23 |

M.S. Swaminathan: No urgency for BT brinjal

There is need for more tests. Tests have largely been done by the company. There has been no independent verification. In many countries there is a need for independent verification of data. 
Biotech is a very powerful tool. We should not deny ourselves the benefits of it. But then, when it comes to food crops, risks and benefits have to be weighed in a way that public has confidence that risks have been considered.

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