The Weekend Leader - Call for debate

Stop bill on genetically modified crops, NGOs tells PM

New Delhi


Vol 2 | Issue 36

Opposing the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) bill, NGOs have urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stop the bill as it compromises with the safety of food in the country.

The bill, if enacted, is expected to allow easy approval of genetically modified (GM) crops such as Bt Brinjal, according to environmental activists.

A file photo of a Greenpeace protest against Bt. Brinjal (Photo courtesy: Greenpeace)

They said the bill would create a new regulatory body which would enable a single window clearance system for genetically modified crops.

"Firstly the bill was drafted in a secretive fashion with no opportunity for the general public to comment on a legislation which deals with something as important as the safety of our food," Alliance for Safe Food, a group of NGOs, wrote in a letter to PM.

"There is no intention or mention of the independent long term bio-safety assessment of GM crops. The bill has no mechanism of transparency,” the stated, adding that the worse part of the bill was that it bypassed “the citizen’s right to information by overriding the Right to Information Act.”

"(The bill) overrides the state government’s authority over health and agriculture,” the NGOs wrote.

The BRAI bill is slated to be tabled in the current session of Parliament. - IANS

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