Three States Rebuff Directive To Test Transgenic Cotton


Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Telangana have rejected a plan to test a novel transgenic cotton seed that was approved by the Centre’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).

Points to Ponder:

  • A plan to test a fresh transgenic cotton seed created by Bioseed Research India has been denied by the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Telangana. A gene termed cry2Ai is present in the seed and is designed to make cotton resistant to the pink bollworm, a significant cotton pest.
  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), which is in charge of assessing and certifying transgenic seeds in India, gave its approval to the request.
  • In addition to Janwada in Telangana, Jalna and Akola in Maharashtra, Junagadh in Gujarat, and Barwala-Hisar in Haryana, the GEAC advised undertaking field trials of the transgenic cotton seed in a variety of places.
  • Only one of the four states, Haryana, approved the field tests; Telangana initially asked for more time to review the idea but ultimately rejected it.
  • Gujarat rejected the plan without citing any particular justifications.
  • In response to the states’ decisions, the GEAC asked Telangana and Gujarat for clarifications and gave Maharashtra 30 days to provide their thoughts on the topic.
  • The GEAC noted that it will make suitable recommendations regarding the plan if no response is received within the allotted deadline.
  • The GEAC has urged the Department of Biotechnology and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research to organise capacity-building programmes to increase knowledge about genetically modified (GM) crops and the regulatory framework. The objective is to inform state governments about GM crops and the legal procedures involved in their assessment.
  • The Coalition for a GM-Free India is one activist group that has objected to the GEAC’s request for the states to provide justifications. They contend that it is biased and contradicts the impartiality that is expected of a regulating authority.
  • The only approved GM crop now grown in fields in India is transgenic cotton. Other GM crops are currently being assessed and subject to regulatory procedures.