News / Asia

India Refuses Permission for First Genetically Modified Food Crop

India has refused to allow commercial cultivation of its first genetically modified food crop citing lack of sufficient evidence about its safety.  The decision was announced following a heated controversy over what would have been the world's first genetically modified vegetable.  

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said Tuesday that the government is not going ahead with the cultivation of the genetically modified eggplant because there is no clear consensus on whether it is safe for human consumption.

He says the government will wait for more scientific studies of the genetically modified eggplant, known as BT brinjal in India.

"When there is so much opposition from state governments, when responsible civil society organizations and eminent scientists have raised many serious questions that have not been answered satisfactorily, when the public sentiment is negative, and when BT brinjal will be the very first genetically modified vegetable to be introduced anywhere in the world and when there is no overriding urgency to introduce it here, it is my duty to adopt a cautious, precautionary principle-based approach, and impose a moratorium on the release of BT brinjal," said Miknister Ramesh.  

The eggplant is called brinjal in India and is a popular vegetable. But it is prone to attack by a pest which reduces yields.

The genetically modified brinjal has undergone field trials since 2008, and was approved last year by India's genetic engineering approval committee.

But an outcry by environmentalists, left wing politicians and several state governments over its approval led the minister to hold a series of public meetings in recent weeks.

Minister Ramesh says the moratorium on BT brinjal will be in place until tests are carried out to everyone's satisfaction. "This has been a difficult decision to take because I had to balance many interests. I had to balance science and society, I had to balance producer and consumer," he said.

Supporters of the genetically modified brinjal say it can boost yields by up to 50 percent and reduce dependence on pesticides. But detractors worry that it could pose a health hazard. They are also concerned that the hybrid brinjal would open the door for other genetically modified food crops.    

Advocates of genetically modified crops say they can boost food supplies substantially, but opponents say they can be a hazard for the environment and health.

The genetically modified eggplant was to be marketed by Mahyco, an Indian partner of the American company Monsanto.

India allowed the cultivation of genetically modified seeds for cotton in 2002.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid