Archive for the 'Bills' Category

WRONG BILL BY WRONG PEOPLE FOR WRONG REASONS

BRAI BILL 2011 IS NO BETTER THAN ANTI-PEOPLE, ANTI-NATURE BRAI 2009

August 16th 2011: The BRAI Bill is a blatant attempt to bulldoze through the public resistance and genuine concerns about Genetically Modified crops, and to deny state governments their Constitutional authority over Agriculture and Health, said the Coalition for a GM-Free India in its reaction to the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India  2011 Bill to be introduced in the Parliament tomorrow. The Coalition urged Parliamentarians to object to the very introduction of the Bill in the Parliament tomorrow, stating that ‘it is a wrong bill by the wrong people for the wrong reasons’. The scam-ridden UPA government will only take a further beating in the eyes of the public if it tries to introduce and pass this Bill, warned the Coalition.

“This BRAI mechanism makes the regulatory system even weaker than the existing GEAC mechanism. As the nation remembers, the Bt Brinjal public hearings process saw state governments, farmer organizations, scientists, environmentalists, health experts and rest of civil society come out with huge concerns about GM crops, and the Government through its moratorium decision admitted the failure of GEAC regulatory mechanism and promised to strengthen the regulatory system. How can the same Government bring in a regulatory mechanism which is actually much weaker than GEAC and which overrides the state governments, local governments and public inputs?” demanded the Coalition.

“As we have said all along, regulation of modern biotechnology is not like regulation as in other sectors like telecom, where corrupt politicians and bureaucrats can hope to make money. The fundamental basis of regulation lies in the risks associated with modern biotechnology. Therefore, there should only be one primary mandate or objective to this statute: to prevent risks to the health and safety of people of India, its environment and its biological diversity in particular, from the development, handling, transport, use, transfer and release of any living modified organisms. Given such a mandate, this Bill should be introduced not by the Ministry of Science and Technology but by the Ministry of Health or Ministry of Environment & Forests. The current Bill is objectionable on such fundamental grounds apart from its other failings,” said the Coalition in a press release.

The following are the main objections listed out by the Coalition in response to this Bill:

1.            Wrong Ministry introducing it with wrong objectives: As mentioned above, there should be only one reason why this Bill should be enacted and that should be to uphold the biosafety of the people of India and its environment from the risks of modern biotechnology. If a technology is inherently unsafe, no amount of regulation can make it safer as is the case with the use of Genetic Engineering in our food and farming systems. Given that this statute is trying to replace the current regulatory regime as governed by the EPA’s 1989 Rules which have been expressly formulated to protect health, Nature and environment from the risks of modern biotechnology, there should be a strong, rational reason why the same will not be the objective for BRAI. What new scientific evidence or other evidence has emerged since then that this objective is being changed to also introduce fast-track clearance systems in the name of ‘effective and efficient’ regulatory procedures?

2.            Over-riding state governments’ authority over their agriculture and health: This Bill has a clause in the very first chapter (Section (2)) which seeks to keep the regulatory control in the hands of Union Government, in the name of “public interest”. This is unconstitutional and retrogressive, especially given the recent change in regulatory norms in India, rightfully so for the first time, allowing state governments to have a greater say in the deployment of modern biotechnology especially in the context of field trials/environmental release of GMOs.

3.            Bypassing the citizens’ Right to Information: This Bill, through Section 28, expressly seeks to classify some information as Confidential Commercial Information and leaves it to the discretion of officials of the Authority to share or not share this information. This once again is regressive, given that the Bt brinjal controversy saw express Supreme Court orders to the regulators asking them to put out all the biosafety data in the public domain. What is the point in incorporating a component of obtaining public feedback through Section 27 (5) if the biosafety data is not put out in the public domain? This is completely objectionable and no political party should support clauses like this.

The same is true to the Oath of Secrecy that the Authority Chair and Members are expected to take in addition to other officials. Why is modern biotechnology and its deployment a secret affair, unless there is something to hide from the public? How can this Authority be trusted to act in the best interest of Indians with such clauses built in?

4.            3-member Authority to decide for all of us?: The Bill essentially proposes that a 3-member Authority, with support from 2 other part-time members will take decisions, even though certain new mechanisms like the Environment Appraisal Panel have been introduced, compared to the last version of the Bill seen in 2010. However, this Authority has been vested with all powers to decide and while it appears that the authority will take recommendations of Risk Assessment Unit and Products Ruling Committee, and has seemingly been rid of conflicting interests by placing restrictions on employment after cessation of office etc. (not before joining the Authority and therefore, nothing to prevent some appointee getting a hefty sum before joining the authority and then clearing applications in the corruption-laden systems all around us; similarly, no such restrictions for the officials in the Biosafety Assessment Units or Product Rulings Committee etc., are missing, even though they would be doing the recommendations that would form the basis of decision-making later on!), the entire authority of decision-making rests with this small group of scientists! There are even clauses which prevent invalidation of the proceedings of the Authority by mere vacancies (sic) etc., in this Bill. When an inter-ministerial body 30-member body like the GEAC, which was also taking biosafety recommendations from a group of scientists called the RCGM and acting accordingly, could be found lacking rigour or independence so often in the past, how can this Biotech Regulatory Authority with its 3 full-time and 2 part-time members be trusted and how can Indians place their faith on them? Further, biotech regulation is not just about biosafety for decisions to be taken based on someone declaring something to be ‘safe’. There are issues related to farmers’ rights, consumers’ rights, trade security, sustainable development etc., all linked to modern biotechnology and its applications.

5.            No Needs Evaluation: One of the fundamental recommendations of the Task Force on Agricultural Biotechnology led by Dr.Swaminathan was that “transgenics should be resorted to when other options to achieve the desired objectives are either not available or not feasible.” The BRAI doesn’t talk about any needs evaluation and assessment of alternatives, which was also stressed by the Government in its Bt brinjal moratorium decision – and assumes that all biotechnology and GM crops are a fait accompli.

6.            There are no proposals at all for independent testing which is a great problem witnessed time and again in the current regulatory regime too. Worse, there are proposals of notifying labs under this Act that have not even been accredited!

7.            There are no improvements being made in terms of open air trials not happening before biosafety is thoroughly, independently and democratically assessed. Using quaint terms like ‘environmental release’ for actual commercial cultivation and using other terms like field trials for open air releases even though they are environmental releases too, the proposed Bill has no improvements to suggest to address the serious lacunae with field trials which are making state government after state government reject the possibility of any open air trials taking place in their state.

8.            The Bill has very weak penal clauses (Chapter XII on Offences and Penalties) and in fact does not address liability issues at all: without a liability regime in place, no regulatory regime is complete on this issue. Liability should put the onus of violations on the crop developer primarily and not the users. Further, liability should cover criminal and civil liability as well as redressal/compensation to affected parties like farmers in addition to remediation for damage caused.

9.            It is unacceptable that the Bill has a clause (70) which says that no court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act save on a complaint made by the Authority or any officer or person authorized by it! What is the rationale for this other than to protect offenders? Equally objectionable is Section 77 which prevents civil courts to have jurisdiction on any matter which the Appellate Tribunal under the Act is empowered to determine, wherein there is a bar on any injunction to be granted by any court in respect of any action taken by the Authority.

10.          It is also objectionable that this Act will have an over-riding effect over other laws in force since this Bill is indeed inconsistent with legislations like the Biological Diversity Act.

The above few points are only some of the main objections. There are several other problems with the Bill in terms of the Appellate Authority proposed, in its Inter-Ministerial Governing Board and its role and constitution etc. etc.

The Pesticides Management Bill can be Pesticide (Production and Distribution) Management Bill, 2008

21st March, Patna. Pesticide industry is an unregulated industry, which has been growing on the demand created by anxieties of the poor and marginal farmers, hollow scientific research and unscientific behaviour of scientists related to agriculture.

Pesticide Management Bill, as a next step, in the process of regulation is a welcome initiative. However, there are number of issues, as experienced from 1962, which have not been addressed by this Bill. Thus, one would be circumspect of the motive of the Bill, and the purpose it is expected to achieve. To discuss the context, pesticides have consistently proven to be a non-factor in agricultural productivity. Pesticides have become a huge burden on the economic and physical health of the farmers and their family members. Pesticides have come to occupy a major percentage of costs in the per acre cost of agricultural production. This is not because of any rise in pesticide prices, but due to the intensive, and unproductive usage of pesticides. Such a scenario has its implications on science of pesticides and policies.

Pesticide Management Bill, 2008, needs to be reviewed for the following:

  1. The Nomenclature of the bill is itself inappropriate. Instead, it can be Pesticide (Production and Distribution) Management Bill, 2008
  2. The five objectives of the Bill, as mentioned, do not bring into focus the core objectives of such a Bill, namely (a)Reducing the impact of chemical pesticides on natural resources, including land, water and all living species, (b) Prevention of misuse of pesticides for purposes other than crop protection, (c) Increasing the effective quality of the pesticides, (d) Reducing the incidence of residues in agricultural commodities, crop wastage, soil and water resources, (e) Controlling malpractices in research, production, marketing and distribution of pesticides
  3. The objective of this Bill is to control and regulate the production, marketing, sale and distribution of pesticides. The objectives cannot include the purpose of the pesticide, namely ‘control of pests’. This Bill should not be burdened with the mandate to control pests.
  4. In Chapter I (2), the Bill does not say this is replacing the existing Act (1962). This needs to be done, in case, the purpose is to update the existing Act. The wording “shall be in addition to” needs to be considered, and probably should be replaced with line, as mentioned in the Environment Protection Act, giving it a precedence
  5. Definitions should include “all living species” replacing the presently mentioned “animals”, as pesticide impact is on every living species including animals, birds, bacteria, etc.
  6. There should not be any “deemed registered pesticide” as scientific research is coming up with new evidences on pesticides registered earlier. Every pesticide, registered and unregistered, prior to this Act, should go through a similar process of registration.
  7. Overall, the section on definitions needs to be revisited, especially with regard to definitions such as ‘misbranding’, etc.
  8. Constitution of “Central Pesticides Board” is completely out of tune with its objectives. All the members are officials, whose primary purpose is to ‘control pests’ that is they create demand for pesticide usage. Their approach would be against the management of pesticides as this Bill envisages. Further, most of the them are fully loaded with their official work, and would not be able to give enough time for deliberations and discussions. There is a need to bring in more independent persons with knowledge into this Board
  9. Member Secretary should not be from the Directorate of Plant Protection, but from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry or Ministry of Environment
  10. The functions of the Board need to be revisited. Presently, it is only advisory in nature. Such a role would not help in achieving the objectives of the Bill, namely regulation and management of production, sale and distribution of pesticides.
  11. The relationship between the Board and the Registration Committee needs to be specified. Board should have the mandate to review the decisions of the Registration Committee, and also in defining the functions of the Registration Committee and also its constitution of members.
  12. In Chapter III, Section 12(3), the Bill calls for applicants to furnish information “on all the known inimical effects of the pesticide”. This should be changes to “on all the inimical effects of the pesticide, on the date of application, and periodically, later on, as the knowledge of science grows”
  13. All registrations, and related provision for submission of information by the applicant, should have a period. Every two years, these registrations should be reviewed by an independent scientific body, with due consultations.
  14. The Bill should prescribe a minimum fee in terms of percentage of the turnover or economic value of production (In Chapter III, Section 12(4)).
  15. In Chapter III, Section 12(6), there should be a provision to add, “any registration can be reviewed, if fresh evidence through proper research data is provided by a body of persons, or individuals, in public interest, by the Registrations Committee”.
  16. In Chapter III, Section 12(8) leaves scope for registration without any proper data. This provision should be removed. Hazardous substances without evidence cannot be permitted for sale and distribution as it would create scope for misuse.
  17. In Chapter III, Section 11(2), the Committee should also include in its functions: “- maintain a database of scientific and other research on the efficacy and inimical effects of various pesticides across the world”
  18. In Chapter IV, Grant of Licenses, the provision for a single Licensing Officer si fraught with pitfalls, as the individual would be overburdened and might not be in a position to arrive at suitable decisions. Instead, at the State Government level, a Board has to be constituted with similar functions as the Registration Committee, for licensing
  19. In Chapter IV, Grant of Licenses 21(1), accreditation of private laboratories should be a function of the Central Pesticide Board. The accreditation process has to be established by the Board, and not by the Plant Protection Adviser.
  20. In Chapter V, a provision has to be included: “Every pesticide that has been banned in any other country, that was registered in India, has to be reviewed with the available evidence, and the license for its production and distribution has to be decided upon accordingly”.
  21. There should be a ban on importing pesticide from the country of origin, wherein that pesticide has been banned from production, distribution or usage.
  22. In Chapter VII, offences and punishment, the penal provision of Rs.25,000 is far less to deter anybody from committing any offence. There has to be different rates at different levels. Probably, Rs.50,000 at the retail level should be sufficient, but the amount has to increase as the geographical area of offence increases. At the manufacturers level it has to be a percentage of the total turnover, say 10 percent.
  23. Same is the case with imprisonment.
  24. In Chapter VII, section 41 is very weak. Companies have to own up the liability. They should be made liable for all the inimical effects, immediately and over a period, of the pesticide manufactured by the company.

Addition issues that need consideration:

1. India is a party to various conventions by consent and participation. This Bill should include commitment to such Conventions such as Stockholm Convention. Central Pesticide Board should be responsible for implementation of all the International Conventions, wherein the government of India has become a party to

2. Criminal liability has to be built in for both manufacturers, distributors and marketers as many instances have been recorded, wherein pesticides have been used to for other than crop protection purposes such as poisoning of lakes, and other water bodies and suicides.

3. Licensing has to be made compulsory for all the links in entire supply chain of pesticides from manufacturers to the retailers.

4. Prescriptions by agricultural officers should also be brought under the ambit of regulation. All crop protection advises by various officers and bodies have to be recorded and adequately monitored for any misuse.

5. Emergency management clauses have to be built in, especially hazardous situations such fire accidents in the pesticide factories, spillovers on land and water, pesticide tanker collisions, etc. Local authorities such as Panchayats, municipal bodies, fire services, emergency medical services, etc. should also be included in this Bill. Provision of prior information and preparation of emergency management plans are required.

Pankaj Bhushan, GM Free Bihar Movement

 


Madhya Pradesh & Kerala Minister for Agriculture object to Biotech Bill

1.Kerala Minister for Agriculture objects to Biotech Bill

2.Madhya Pradesh opposes setting up of biotech regulatory authority

The Madhya Pradesh government has reacted strongly to the setting up of the proposed Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI), accusing the Centre of attempting to impinge upon the autonomy of the State.

Orissa, Kerala, Assam and several other States have also been opposing the Bill.

In his earlier communication, Mr. Retnakaran [Kerala Minister for Agriculture] had said that almost all the provisions of the Bill were undemocratic and authoritarian. Commercial interest of the corporate bodies was given prime protection. Commercial information was exempted from disclosure even under the Right to Information Act. Independent Research on genetically modified crops was not allowed, as the entire research was to be done only by those organisations notified by the Biotechnology Authority.

“We are sure; you would agree with me that the destiny of India’s agriculture cannot be left to a three member Authority with unlimited powers and unquestionable freedom, that too without an iota of accountability and transparency,” he said.

Kerala Minister for Agriculture Mullakkara Retnakaran has expressed strong reservations about the Biotechnology Regulatory Bill approved by the Union Cabinet recently.

In a letter to Union Minister of Agriculture Sharad Pawar seeking his intervention, Mr. Retnakaran objected to the move to centralise and vest a three-member Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India with full powers to take all decisions related to biotechnology including introduction of genetically modified crops and foods in the country.

Terming the provisions of the Bill as draconian, he said that the even representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment and Forests were not proposed to be included in the Authority. Besides, the Bill sought to curtail freedom of expression and punish anyone who records any view against introduction of any genetically modified crop or food. Even peaceful demonstration against introduction of genetically modified crops could attract imprisonment and fine.

The Minister told The Hindu that serious consultations with States, experts and the people should be undertaken before enacting the legislation. The biodiversity of the country was varied, and it was not even the governments but people who protected this diversity. The responsibility of protecting the biodiversity should remain with the States.

Mr. Retnakaran noted that the Bill proposed centralisation of authority contrary to the tendency to decentralise decision making. The powers of the State to take policy decision on matters related to agriculture was being sought to be trampled upon.

He said that he would soon be writing to the members of the Parliament from the State to oppose the provisions of the Bill in Parliament. Though he had communicated his objections to the Centre earlier, they had received due consideration.

In his earlier communication, Mr. Retnakaran had said that almost all the provisions of the Bill were undemocratic and authoritarian. Commercial interest of the corporate bodies was given prime protection. Commercial information was exempted from disclosure even under the Right to Information Act. Independent Research on genetically modified crops was not allowed, as the entire research was to be done only by those organisations notified by the Biotechnology Authority.

“We are sure; you would agree with me that the destiny of India’s agriculture cannot be left to a three member Authority with unlimited powers and unquestionable freedom, that too without an iota of accountability and transparency,” he said.

The Madhya Pradesh government has also reacted strongly to the setting up of the proposed Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI), accusing the Centre of attempting to impinge upon the autonomy of the State.

The BRAI Bill was approved by the Union Cabinet on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and is expected to be tabled in the current session of Parliament.

Orissa, Kerala, Assam and several other States have also been opposing the Bill.

The proposed Bill will set up the BRAI, having the role of a clearing house/facilitator/approver for applications pertaining to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). It is also expected to take over the functions of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, which will assume the role of “appraiser” instead of “approver.”

State Agriculture Minister Ramakrishna Kusumaria told The Hindu that Madhya Pradesh would strongly oppose the Bill.

“It will have disastrous consequences for Indian Agriculture, which still relies heavily on traditional technologies. It will take the control of food from the farmer and give it to multinational corporations, who will enslave our agriculture,” he said.

According to Section 81 of the Bill, the Act will have an overriding effect over State-level acts and regulations since it makes the proposed authority solely responsible for releasing and controlling GMOs throughout the country and envisages only an advisory role for States.

Dr. Kusumaria said this ignored the constitutional powers that State governments had over their Agriculture and Health, and went against the federal structure of the republic.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh has reiterated several times the State government’s commitment to promoting organic agriculture, which was expected to be further marginalised once the BRAI became effective.

Activists from all over the country have been opposing the Bill in its current form, particularly raising objections over one of its provisions, which states: “Whoever, without any evidence or scientific records, misleads the public about the safety of organisms and products… shall be punished, with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to one year, and with fine which may extend to Rs. 2 lakh, or with both.”

Besides, several critics of the Bill have expressed concern over the BRAI’s implementing agency – the Department of Biotechnology, under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

According to critics, placing the BRAI under the Department of Biotechnology will result in a direct conflict of interest since the department is the promoter of GMOs in India. Activists have instead called for a National Biosafety Authority under either the Ministry of Environment and Forests or the Ministry of Health, since environment and health are expected to be directly affected by GMOs.

SEED REGISTRATION MUST IN SEED BILL 2010; FARMERS EXEMPTED

The Seed Bill 2010 provides for compulsory registration of kinds or varieties of seeds. No person will be allowed to carry on the business of selling or supplying any seed which is not of a registered kind/variety. Farmers are exempted from compulsory registration. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Right Act provide registration of plant varieties with the objective of conserving rights of breeders and farmers.

Penalties proposed in the Bill are higher than the existing Act. Proposed penalties have been further enhanced based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee and other amendments proposed to the Bill. The Seeds Bill is stringent in its provisions as it provides not only for penalty (both fine and imprisonment) but also for cancellation of registration and compensation to farmers.

This information was given by Prof. K.V. Thomas, Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

(PIB,27/08/2010)

India doesn’t need a Biotech Regulatory Authority but a Biosafety Protection Authority

Reacting to reports on the Cabinet clearance given to the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill, members of the Coalition for a GM-Free India strongly reiterated that this Bill should be stopped in its tracks. Repeating that the mandate of this Bill is to set up a clearing house for approving GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in our food and farming, they said that they would step up pressure on the Government of India to discard this ‘wrong bill by the wrong people for the wrong reasons’.

“We believe that any law related to regulation of GM crops/foods should have as its basis the protection of the health and environment of Indians from the risks of biotechnology. In fact, that was the basis of the Environment Protection Act’s 1989 Rules which were the basis for the current regulatory regime in India. If this fundamental shift in the statutory approach to regulation of GMOs is happening now, the Government of India should be able to justify the grounds on which this is happening, especially since more and more evidence is emerging on the adverse impacts of the technology”, said Dr G V Ramanjaneyulu, Executive Director, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

“Increasingly, we are seeing state governments being bypassed in the law and policy formulation related to various aspects of our agriculture even though Agriculture is a state subject as per the Constitution of India. This is being attempted with the Seeds Bill too, and now the BRAI expressly seeks to supercede such constitutional authority vested with state governments. This is simply not acceptable – obviously, if things go wrong tomorrow, it is the state government’s doors that farmers will be first knocking on tomorrow. This is also against the spirit of local self-governance enshrined in the Constitution starting from the Gram Panchayat”, said Nilesh Desai, Beej Swaraj Abhiyan, Madhya Pradesh. The Madhya Pradesh has already fired the first salvo against the Cabinet approval to the Bill and said that it would fight it tooth and nail.

“We do not believe that tinkering with the existing Bill here and there will do – we need this Bill to be scrapped, to be replaced by a comprehensive, people-friendly biosafety protection legislation. There is just no evidence on the scientific or social fronts to support the government’s complacent pro-GM view”, said Umendra Dutt of Kheti Virasat Mission, Punjab.

Many analysts see this as the government’s and the biotech industry’s attempts to bring in Bt Brinjal, stuck in a moratorium for now, through the backdoor. The BRAI being housed under the Department of Biotechnology is being objected to strongly in addition to the lack of mechanisms for transparent and democratic functioning for protecting health and environment from the hazardous technology of Genetic Engineering. It is worthwhile to remember here that that the need for an independent and credible regulatory regime was articulated by the 2004 Task Force Report on Agricultural Biotechnology and this report clearly pointed out that the following should be the bottom line for any biotechnology regulatory policy: the safety of the environment, the well being of farming families, the ecological and economic sustainability of farming systems, the health and nutrition security of consumers, safeguarding of home and external trade and the biosecurity of the nation”. These important aspects or cornerstones do not find any place in the proposed Bill sought to be introduced.

BRAI bill – some main objections:

  • Mandate is to approve genetically modified (GM) crops and not to safeguard the health of the citizens or the environment. It will become a smooth single window clearance system for GM crops and also poses a question mark on the moratorium imposed on Bt Brinjal on scientific grounds through democratic processes. The approvals also presume that the safety of a GM crop can be best assessed by the company which stands to benefit from the approval.
  • BRAI sits inside the Ministry of Science and technology creating serious conflict of interest. Dept of Biotechnology – under the Ministry of Science &Technology, has the mandate of promotion of GE crops. DBT funds several GE crop development projects using public funds and is the nodal agency for redirecting funds from foreign governments to GE crop development projects.
  • It will leave the decisions in the hands of a few technocrats and neither elected governments nor public will have any say in decisions on GM crops. The bill proposes a centralised, technocratic decision making authority with no scope for democratic intervention. The apex authority is the BRAI with a chairperson and two members, all scientists with either a biotech or a health background.
  • State governments who are constitutionally mandated to take decisions on agriculture will be superceded by BRAI.
  • Removes BRAI from the purview of the Right to information Act.
  • Created through a non-transparent, non consultative process.

What does the Coalition demand instead?

Any regulatory regime around GMOs should have the primary mandate of protecting health of people and the environment from the risks of modern biotechnology. It should necessarily have the following components as cornerstones of the legislation:

  • Precautionary Principle as the central guiding principle
  • Going in for the GM option only in case other alternatives are missing
  • Separating out very clearly the phases of contained research and deliberate release and distinct regulatory mechanisms for both, in a sequential fashion
  • No conflicting interests to be allowed anywhere in the regulation and decision-making
  • Transparent functioning: information disclosure and public/independent scrutiny
  • Democratic functioning including public participation – even here, data to be put out in the public domain and public participation included before the decision-making process and not just informing after a decision is made
  • Risk assessment – (a) prescribing rigorous, scientific protocols and asking the crop developer to take up studies and then do independent analysis of the dossier supplied by the crop developer and evaluate/review of the same; (b) to also take up independent testing by having all facilities and institutional structures in place for the same and evaluating the results
  • Risk management – including monitoring, reviewing, revoking of approvals
  • Liability – including penal clauses, redressal and remediation
  • Labeling regime for informed choices – this covers traceability and identity preservation requirements
  • Oversight and appellate mechanisms
  • In the case of India, given that it is a federal structure and given that Agriculture is a state subject, special clauses which allow the state governments to form their own regulatory systems and mechanisms
  • On-going Post Market monitoring of every GM crop

Further, the law should be governed by principles like Polluter Pays, Inter-generational equity (a key principle in environmental jurisprudence now which covers conservation of options, conservation of quality and conservation of access, for present and future generations) etc. In countries like Norway, the law also has provisions to answer questions like “Is this ethically and socially justifiable?”, before a GMO is cleared. That would automatically include socio-economic and ethical concerns within the regulatory regime.

Pankaj Bhushan, convener, GM Free Bihar Movement said it is disastrous.


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