News Round-up: PM urged not to invite FDI in genetic engineering
An Open Letter to Prime Minister by Vijnana Bharati
Vijnana Bharati, the country’s premier organisation of scientists, urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to invite any sort of investment in the field of genetic engineering technologies to produce seeds in India. The appeal came following the relentless war by Indian farmers and scientific community against the field trials announced by the Union Government and the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) without adequate research.
The Open Letter, written by A Jayakumar, secretary general of Vijnana Bharati on September 29, referred the PM’s mention of seeking investments in biotechnology sector during his recent visit to USA. The letter said investments in other fields of biotechnology may be desirable, investments in genetic engineering for producing seeds should be strictly avoided due to certain critical factors. Most importantly, genetic engineering technologies go hand in hand with royalties. The monopoly of Monsanto in Maharashtra has led to serious debt incurred by farmers resulting in large scale suicides.
“Secondly, the experience in the US with herbicide resistant GMO seeds has led to the emergence of super weeds which has gone beyond human control. As the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) appointed by Supreme Court has rightly recommended, there is no place for herbicide tolerant GMO crops in small farms of India. Thirdly, organic, agro-ecological systems are proven over the tides of time to be the best path to food security,” the letter said.“We should be able to create circumstances by which the agricultural and scientific wisdom of India be of considerable aid to USA and the world at large in establishing non-violent farming practices, especially in this age where mindless exploitation of nature has become a norm,” the letter said.