A Technical Expert Committee (TEC) appointed by the Supreme Court of India recommended an indefinite suspension on open field trials of genetically-modified (GM) crops till the deficiencies in the regulatory and safety systems are effectively addressed.
In the final report submitted to the court on 3 July 2013, the panel did not mention 10-year suspension on field trials as suggested in the interim report in October 2012. Instead, it imposed four conditions for meaningful consideration for allowing trials.
The Panel suggestions were:
• Setting up of a think tank to look into Bio-safety issues.
• Housing the new Bio-technology regulatory in either Union Environment or Health Ministry.
• Identification of specific sites for conducting tests and mandatory stakeholder participation as part of risk management strategy.
On successful following of the recommended conditions, the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) suggested that the trials should be only allowed on land owned by GM crop application and not on leased land.
TEC interim report
• In TEC interim report submitted to the Supreme Court on October 2012, the panel recommended a ban on field trials of GM crops until the regulatory system was completely overhauled.
• Panel also called for a 10-year suspension on field trials of Bt food crops (which are modified with the Bacillus thuringiensis gene, such as the proposed Bt Brinjal), and a complete ban on field trials of transgenics in crops which originate in India.
1. Imran Siddiqui, Plant Development Biology scientist, Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.
2. P S Ramakrishnan, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences and Biodiversity, Jawaharlal Nehru University Delhi.
3. P C Chauhan, an expert in Genetics Toxicology and Food Safety.
4. P C Kesavan, a former BARC Scientist and fellow in M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai.
5. B Sivakumar, former director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.
6. Rajendra Singh Paroda, former Director General of Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Delhi.