Union Minister of Science and Technology, Harsh Vardhan took over the additional charge of Environment Ministry on 22 May 2017.
Harsh Vardhan filled the seat left vacant after the death of Anil Madhav Dave, who passed away on 18 May after suffering cardiac arrest.
Harsh Vardhan planted a sapling on the premises of the ministry in the memory of Dave after taking charge.
Dave had clearly stated in his will that people can honour and cherish his memories by planting trees and not by instituting any statue, memorial or award.
Dave was supposed to take the final call on the approval of genetically modified mustard.
• The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), a body of the ministry that evaluates genetically modified crops, had on 11 May 2017 recommended the commercial use of GM mustard.
• It was then left to the environment minister to take a final call on the issue.
• GM mustard, which was first developed in the early 2000s, was one of the first genetically modified food crops to be considered for commercial sue.
• However, Bt cotton secured the first approval for commercial release in 2002.
• GM mustard has been facing heavy criticism from environmentalists, anti-GM activists and the RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch.