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The parliamentary committee report on the crucial matter of genetically modified (GM) crops is out and needs to be carefully read and not summarily thrashed. It is clear that GM technologies need a robust and credible regulatory framework to ensure that they work in the interests of people and the environment. This is what the committee, in its exhaustive and all-party report, titled Cultivation of Genetically Modified Food Crops: Prospects and Effects, has discussed.
My deposition to the committee, which details our approach is below. As I explain in my memorandum, the issue of GM food crops must be considered in terms of India’s ability to regulate new technologies, the credibility of the scientific system that allows the use of these new technologies. And most importantly, it must consider the issue of price and the control of new technologies that take agricultural decisions out of the hands of farmers.
The report endorses this approach. I believe, therefore, it is time for a more mature debate on GM crops. This is what the Parliamentary Committee report should help us do.
Editor, Down To Earth