Government gives environmental approval for gene modified mustard

The Government of India has granted environmental clearance for the indigenously developed genetically modified (GM) mustard seeds. The latest decision has paved a way for the commercial use of its first genetically modified food crop.

Gene modified mustard in India
Gene modified mustard in India

Genetically Modified Mustard UPSC: The Government of India has granted the environmental clearance for the indigenously developed genetically modified (GM) mustard seeds.

The latest decision has paved a way for the commercial use of its first genetically modified food crop. Notably, India is the world’s biggest importer of edible oils, on which the country spends tens of billions of dollars a year. The country fills more than 70% of its demand from Argentina, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Malaysia, and Ukraine.

A Geneticist and the former Vice Chancellor of Delhi University, Deepak Pental called it a landmark development. Pental developed the seeds along with his team. It was an effort that stretched more than a decade.

Gene Modified Mustard in India

The Government of India, in a notice, confirmed the highest level of clearance yet for the transgenic mustard crop which is also known as the rapeseed.

India has been streamlining regulations for the development of genome-edited plants. The Ministry of Science and Technology also called the technology promising, as it offers huge economic potential.

Gene Modified Mustard receives approval

The latest decision by the Government of India recognizes the potential of biotechnology to address the issue of India’s growing edible oil imports.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also repeatedly urged the farmers to boost domestic oilseed production so as to achieve self-reliance. Gujarat has also been at the forefront of the efforts to adopt GM Cotton Seeds during PM Modi’s time as the Chief Minister there.

Why Gene Modified Mustard is significant?

Many Indian scientists and agricultural experts have called for faster clearance of the Gene Modified crops as India’s farming acreage shrinks because of rapid urbanization and erratic weather. It further threatens the output of staple food grains such as rice and wheat.

However, conservative politicians and advocacy groups have been opposing lab-altered crops, in the belief that gene-modified crops could compromise food safety and biodiversity and can also pose a health hazard.

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