The recent approval of more genetically modified crops by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has further proved that the NDA government is in clear consonance with the anti-public policies of the UPA government.
The GEAC last Friday permitted certain companies and research institutes for conducting field trials of 5 GM (genetically modified) crops. The trials for development of genetically modified cotton, maize, castor, wheat and rice were permitted. Besides Karif, Rabi crops were also permitted. Around 70 crops from the pending applications since 2012 were given green signals by the committee thereby trying to satisfy all the applicants.
Genetically modified crops were not permitted until now due to the opposition from the independent scientists, farmers and the public supported by Ministers like Jairam Ramesh and Jayanthi Natarajan of the UPA government. But the GM lobby proved its political influence once again through Veerappa Moily. Moily has arranged the sanctions for field trials of several crops since last February. People who opposed the sanctions initially consisted of the NDA including the BJP; but just weeks into power, they too pandered to the GM lobby. For carrying out the field trials, permission of the states is required. Majority of the states including Kerala, object the committee move despite backing from the other states like Andre Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana.
Only cotton crops were allowed for GM field trials until recently. But now, food crops including wheat, corn, groundnut, chickpeas, beans and eggplant are also being given such trials. Genetic variants of four types of rice crops which were allowed in last March are on the way. Permission to import GM soybean oil was also granted.
None is against experimenting with new ideas and researches in the agricultural sector for developing crop varieties that grow efficiently and are resistant to insects and drought. But their significance is yet to be proved. Only after foolproof lab experiments, could they be tested on the fields, especially in those countries where the environmental and health issues are on a hike. The Supreme Court of India has administered a six member panel of experts to study the matter and only one member backs the GM trials. Another main issue is that these crops cannot be identified once in the market. These crops are not labelled as “GM” due to which the consumers couldn’t identify the non GM crops from the genetically modified ones. Attempts to voice the objections have remained futile, in several countries.
The GM variants may put an end to the food self sufficiency. In a country which welcomes the foreign cooperate entities, at large, the foreign GM companies will soon be able to find a foothold in the food sector with nothing left to us. BJP, which always proclaims self reliance and its love for the mother country, is the first in league to support such a foreign dominance.
Sangh Parivar associated Jagaran Manch says that genetic experiments are a form of public deceit. The Manch questions the ambiguity between dates, April 7, on which the NDA had released a paper stressing that it wouldn’t allow any trial without complete scientific analysis and July 18 on which the permit for field trials was issued. But it doesn’t have any issue with the BJP government giving open and free access to the foreign companies even before verifying the safety scientifically. The words and the deeds of the NDA are contradictory and clearly endorse what Modi said the day he was sworn in – “our good days are coming”.