Posts Tagged 'BRAI Bill'

8th August – Delhi Chalo!

8th August – Delhi Chalo!

IF the BRAI Bill is IN, safe food is OUT. Moreover it will also facilitate the takeover of our food and farming by multinational agri-business corporations like Monsanto. This BRAI Bill has been dubbed as Indias Monsanto Promotion and Protection Act by many. This Bill could mean an end to Choices, for farmers and consumers.
This is about our Food, our Farmers and our Freedom. Remember how citizen action threw out the unwanted and unsafe Bt brinjal in 2009-2010. We can do it again!
 

SAY NO TO BRAI BILL

SAY NO TO BRAI BILL

बी आर ए आई बिल विधेयक को लेकर घमासान , किसान संगठनों ने आन्दोलन की दी चेतावनी

बिहार ऑब्जर्वर:पटना,  राष्ट्रीय जैव प्रौद्यागिकी नियामक प्राधिकरण विधेयक (बी आर ए आई बिल) दिनांक अप्रैल को केन्द्रीय विज्ञान एवं तकनीकी तथा पृथ्वी विज्ञान मंत्री श्री जयपाल रेड्डी द्वारा केंद्रीय लोक सभा में बड़े नाटकीय ढंग से पेश कर दिया गया. विदित हो कि केंद्रीय मंत्रिमंडल द्वारा राष्ट्रीय जैव प्रौद्यागिकी नियामक प्राधिकरण विधेयक (BRAI Bill,बायोटेक्नोलॉजी रेगुलेटरी ऑथीरटी ऑफ इन्डिया बिल) कि मंजूरी दे दी गई थी जो संसद में विगत दो वर्षों से लंबित था. इसका मुख्य कारण है कि इस् बिल में राज्यों के संवैधानिक अधिकारों को छीनने की कोशिश की गई हैं साथ ही साथ इसके पारित होने से सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम एवं पर्यावरण संरक्षण अधिनियम का भी हनन होगा तथा हमारी खाद्य सुरक्षा एवं किसानी पर बड़ा सवाल खड़ा होगा।

यह बातें जी एम मुक्त बिहार अभियान के संयोजक एवं कोलीशन फॉर जी एम फ्री इंडिया के सह संयोजक पंकज भूषण ने कहा।श्री भूषण ने केन्द्रीय विज्ञान एवं तकनीकी तथा पृथ्वी विज्ञान मंत्री श्री जयपाल रेड्डी को पत्र भेजते हुए निवेदन कहा कि इस् बिल पर तुरत ही रोक लगायी जाये साथ हीं उन्होंने बिहार के मुख्य मंत्री को पत्र के माध्यम से अनुरोध किया है की अविलम्ब इस् बिल को रोकने की शिफारिश की जाये, साथ हीं उन्होंने यह भी अनुरोध किया की यदि इस् बिल पर रोक नहीं लगती है तब इसे संयुक्त समिति को अग्रसारित किया जाये या संसदीय कृषि समिति को दिया जाये।विदित हो कि इस् बिल के विरुद्ध बिहार के पूर्व मुख्य मंत्री एवं सांसद श्री रामसुंदर दास, पूर्व केंद्रीय मंत्री-सांसद एवं तत्कालीन भारतीय जनता पार्टी के प्रदेश अध्यक्ष डा० सी पी ठाकुर, सांसद एवं पूर्व केन्द्रीय मंत्री कैप्टन जय नारायण निषाद, सांसद श्रीमती अश्वमेधा देवी, तत्कालीन सांसद स्व० उमा शंकर सिंह, सांसद ओम् प्रकाश यादव, सांसद डा० अनिल कुमार साहनी, पूर्व केंद्रीय मंत्री एवं सांसद रघुवंश प्रसाद सिंह जैसे कई सांसदों ने केंद्र सरकार को पत्र लिखकर कड़ी आपत्ति दर्ज कराई थी ताकि यह बिल संसद में पेश नहीं किया जाये, परन्तु केंद्र सरकार ने बगैर कोई संसोधन के इस् बिल को लोक सभा में पेश कर दिया. प्रस्तावित विधेयक में जन सहभागिता के लिए कोई जगह नहीं है।

जैव विविधता के बारे में कार्टाजेना प्रोटोकॉल (जैव विविधता समझौते के तहत) के अनुच्छेद 23.2 में साफ कहा गया है कि जी0 एम0 के मामले में फैसला लेते समय जन सहभागिता भी सुनिश्चित की जानी चाहिए। भारत इस संधि का हस्ताक्षरकर्ता है। इससे एक तरफ राष्ट्र के नागरिकों के हक का भी हनन होगा और दूसरी तरफ पर्यावरण पर भी गंभीर खतरे के बादल मंडराने लगेंगे।

इस् विधेयक में कृषि और स्वास्थ्य पर राज्यों के संवैधानिक अधिकार को छीनने की कोशिश की गई है जो कि देश के संघीय ढ़ाँचें की व्यवस्था का घोर उल्लंघन है। प्रस्तावित विधेयक में राज्य सरकारों को राज्य बायोटेक्नोलॉजी नियामक सलाहकार समिति में सिर्फ सलाह देने तक ही सीमित रखा गया है। इसे दो कारणों से स्वीकारा नहीं जा सकता है। पहला कृषि और स्वास्थ्य राज्य का विषय है और दूसरा इसमें जैव विविधता कानून बनाने के राज्यों से अधिकार को छीना जा रहा है। ऐसे में यह फैसला जैव विविधता के संरक्षण और उसे बरकरार रखने के लिए एक विकेन्द्रीकृत प्राधिकरण की व्यवस्था का भी उल्लंघन है। खाशकर इस समय यह बिल बहुराष्ट्रीय कंपनियों के स्वार्थ में पेश किया गया है जब बिहार, केरल, मध्य प्रदेश, कर्नाटक, छत्तीसगढ़ ओडिशा एवं पश्चिम बंगाल जैसे राज्यों ने जी एम फसलों के परिक्षण को मना कर चुके हैं।

अब देश भर के हजारों गांव खुद को जीएम मुक्त घोषित कर रहे हैं।जी एम फ्री बिहार के संयोजक बबलू कुमार ने कहा कि यह जग जाहिर हो चुका है कि बिहार के मुख्य मंत्री के पहल पर बिहार में बी टी बैंगन की खेती एवं जी एम मक्के का परिक्षण रुका, साथ हीं एक नियम भी बन गया कि किसी तरह के परिक्षण के पूर्व राज्य सरकार की अनुमति आवश्यक होगी। फिर इस बिल का क्या अचित्य है? अतः उन्होंने मुख्य मंत्री बिहार से माँग की है कि जैसे बिहार सरकार ने बीज विधेयक पर किसानों के स्वार्थ में घनघोर आपत्ति की थी उसी प्रकार बिहार सरकार हमारी किसानी एवं पर्यावरण की रक्षा हेतु पुनः इस् बिल पर आपति प्रकट करते हुए केंद्र सरकार को अपने मंतव्य से अवगत करावे. उन्होंने कहा कि जिस तरह मध्य प्रदेश सरकार द्वारा कड़ी आपत्ति दर्ज करते हुए केंद्र को प्रस्ताव भेजा जा चुका है, उसी तरह बिहार सरकार भी अविलम्ब आपत्ति दर्ज करे ताकि हमारी किसानी बच सके।

अभी हाल में प्रसिद्ध कृषि वैज्ञानिक एम. एस. स्वामीनाथन ने कहा कि यह बिल महात्मा गाँधी की भावना के विरुद्ध है, जिसमे खाशकर जैव परिवर्धित फसलों की स्वीकृति के लिए एकल खिड़की की व्यवस्था है। साथ हीं सूचना के जन अधिकार का राष्ट्रीय अभियान से जुड़ीं राष्ट्रीय सलाहकार समिति की सदस्या एवं समाजसेवी अरुणा राय ने भी हाल में हीं प्रेस विज्ञप्ति के माध्यम से इस विधेयक के धारा 2, 28, 70, 77 पर कड़ी प्रतिक्रिया जाहिर करते हुए कहा कि इस विधेयक के पारित होने के बाद इससे संबंधित कोई भी सूचना प्राप्त नहीं होगा और उसे गोपनीय ठहरा दिया जाएगा जो कि सूचना के अधिकार अधिनियम 2005 का सरासर उल्लंघन है। जिससे भारतीय गणतंत्र के नागरिकों के अधिकारों का हनन होगा।

किसान-मजदूर गठबन्धन के प्रदेश अध्यक्ष कृष्णा सिंह ने कहा कि यह बिल बहुराष्ट्रीय कंपनियों के बहकावे में आकर केंद्र सरकार ने पेश किया है जिससे हमारी किसानी तबाह हो जायेगी, जिन जैव परिवर्धित बीजों (जी एम) को बिहार सरकार ने रोककर एक ऐतिहासिक कार्य किया है, अब इस् बिल के आ जाने के बाद पुनः काविज हो जायेगा. उन्होंने कहा कि अंतिम चरण तक हम इस् बिल के खिलाफ लड़ेंगे और जरूरत हुई तब गठबन्धन इस् के लिय आन्दोलन भी शुरू करेगा. खाद्य सुरक्षा पर बल देते हुए कहा कि यह भी ध्यान रखने योग्य है कि हमारा भोजन असुरक्षित होता जा रहा है। जीएम फसलों व खाद्यान्न के आने से उसके जहरीले होने की संभावना भी बढ़ गई है। इसीलिए इस बिल के पेश किये जाने का विरोध करने की जरूरत है।

Biotech regulator Bill draws flak

Press Trust of India  |  Vadodara  April 24, 2013

Some NGOs here have demanded the withdrawal of a Bill which seeks to establish an independent regulator for the biotech sector, calling it “anti-people and pro-MNCs”. 

The Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on April 22. The proposed regulator covers research, transport, import, manufacture and use of organisms and products of modern biotechnology. 

Coalition for a GM-Free India and Akhil Gujarat Sajiv Kheti Samaj (Gujarat unit of Organic Farming Association of India) have demanded withdrawal of the Bill, calling it a “retrograde” piece of legislation. 

Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Convenor of Coalition for a GM-Free India, Prashant Bhushan, its Co-convener, and Kapil Shah, Secretary of the state unit of the Association, said MPs across parties should oppose this “anti-people” Bill. 

This would prevent the government from handing over control of India’s food and seed to a few multi-national companies in the biotechnology sector, they said. 

They alleged that the Congress-led UPA Government has tabled a “deeply flawed” Bill despite strong opposition within and outside Parliament. 

“How can promoter of the Bill (Science and Technology Ministry) become a regulator when various other Ministries, including Environment, Forests and Agriculture, are involved in this subject?” Bhushan asked. 

Radhakrishnan claimed that “the Bill overlooks the ever-increasing evidence on impacts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on human health, biodiversity and socio-economic aspects.” 

Terming the Bill as “anti-farmer and anti-consumer,” they demanded it be withdrawn.

GM-Free Bihar Movement Cries Foul Over BRAI Bill

Bill introduced despite opposition within and outside Parliament

Patna, 24th April 2013: The GM-Free Bihar Movement today expressed deep anguish at the Central Government’s action of introducing the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill 2013 in Parliament despite serious reservations of parliamentarians, scientists, civil society groups and farmers.

“This Bill, dubbed as a ‘wrong bill by the wrong people for wrong reasons’ in its various versions has been extremely controversial due to provisions facilitating the biotechnology industry at the expense of public good,” GM-Free Bihar Movement Convener Mr. Pankaj Bhushan said in a press release here.

The Bill’s flawed approach to regulation in trying to create a single window clearing house for products of modern biotechnology, instead of an express mandate to protect and uphold bio-safety given the acknowledged risks of modern biotechnology, has been opposed time and again.

“As we have reiterated on numerous occasions, the Bill is steeped in conflict of interest as the Ministry promoting biotechnology is about to house the regulator; it undermines the federal polity of our nation by overriding the authority of state governments, even though Agriculture is a State Subject as per the Indian Constitution. It also attempts to circumvent the right to information and transparency laws and is focussed on creating a three member technocratic, undemocratic and centralised decision making body. As the Bt brinjal moratorium decision shows us, even a more broad-based regulatory body had gone wrong with its decision-making – why can’t the government learn lessons from the past and aspire for a progressive legislation in the interest of Indian citizens and environment, rather than promote corporate interests?” Bhushan said.

The problems with this technology particularly in our food and farming systems, where the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are released into the environment are widely known and documented. “The Bill introduced in Parliament on April 22, 2013 overlooks the ever-increasing evidence on the impacts of GMOs on human health, biodiversity and socioeconomic aspects and lacks any scientific independent, long term assessment to look at the safety as well as the very need of GMOs before their open release.”

Bhushan termed the bill anti-farmer and anti-consumer, saying, if passed, it will only result in people losing control over food choices and seed sovereignty. “The bill should be withdrawn,” he demanded.

BACKGROUND:

The introduction of this Bill at this juncture is all the more shocking and unacceptable, given the following recommendation from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture which studied the subject in detail and presented its report to Parliament in August 2012:

The Government has been for some years now toying with the idea of a Biotechnology Regulatory Authority. The Committee feels that regulating biotechnology is too small a focus in the vast canvas of biodiversity, environment, human and livestock health, etc. and a multitude of other such related issues. They have, therefore, already recommended in a previous Chapter setting up of an all encompassing Bio-safety Authority through an Act of Parliament, which is extensively discussed and debated amongst all stakeholders, before acquiring shape of the law. Unless and until such an authority is in place, any further movement in regard to transgenics in agriculture crops will obviously be fraught with unknown consequences. (Section 8.120)

Analysing the lacunae of the existing regulation and studying the proposed Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India, the Standing Committee said the following:

“In such a situation what the Country needs is not a biotechnology regulatory legislation but an all encompassing umbrella legislation on biosafety which is focused on ensuring the biosafety, biodiversity, human and livestock health, environmental protection and which specifically describes the extent to which biotechnology, including modern biotechnology, fits in the scheme of things without compromising with the safety of any of the elements mentioned above”.

The GM-Free Bihar Movement strongly urges that Parliamentarians cutting across the political spectrum should respond to this retrograde and anti-people bill and prevent the control over our food and seed by a few biotechnology majors.  Discussing the Bill in a limited context of a Standing Committee on Science & Technology would not suffice, given the large potential impact of the issue at hand.

We demand that the government show its sensitivity to the broad based opposition by withdrawing the bill. We urge Parliamentarians to ask for circulation to elicit  response and understand the importance and need to set up a Joint  Committee in this current instance (ideally headed by the Chairperson of the Agriculture Standing Committee, given its deep links to farmers’ livelihoods, an issue pertaining to the largest number of Indians).

Letter to Dr.Manmohan Singh, PM on Biotechnology Bill by Law Makers

Raghuvansh Prasad Singh: BRAI Bill – Bulldozing public opinion

The government has finalised the draft of the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill. A close reading of the draft shows that, on the one hand, this Bill intends to provide single-window clearance to genetically-modified (GM) crops promoted by multinational seed companies; on the other, it ignores the possible risks and threats to our agriculture, health and environment from this controversial technology.

The nation saw a widespread debate on Bt brinjal, the first GM food crop to have been considered for commercial cultivation in the country. Public consultations organised during that debate clearly highlighted the objections and concerns of all sections of society, including scientists, on GM foods in general and Bt brinjal in particular.

Despite the moratorium, there have been many efforts in the past several months to overlook the legitimate concerns over GM crops and this proposed regulatory system called BRAI is one such significant effort.Twelve state governments, including the largest brinjal-cultivating states – West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha – expressed their concerns with regard to this novel and unnatural GM food crop. The government responded rightly to the diverse voices all around and placed a moratorium on the commercial release of Bt brinjal on February 9, 2010.

A hasty move in the wrong direction

The fact that the draft of the Bill was not put in the public domain and the haste with which the Bill was listed for tabling – it was given to the MPs just a few hours before its scheduled introduction in the Lok Sabha on August 17 – makes it clear that the government is in no mood for an informed debate either inside or outside Parliament on BRAI. It was thanks to the raging anti-corruption debates in the Lok Sabha that the Bill could not be introduced by the ministry of science and technology.

The problems with the current proposal of the regulatory system starts with the conflicting interest in which ministry is tabling the Bill, the ministry of science and technology that also has the mandate to promote GM crops in the country. The Bill also proposes to have an appellate tribunal that is the sole forum for redressal. This is a scary situation in which the promoter himself becomes the regulator, prosecutor and the judge. This is the recipe for a corrupt autocratic system.

One of the biggest issues with the current regulatory system, with the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) as the nodal agency, was that it overrules the constitutional role of state governments in policy decisions regarding agriculture and health. After almost 13 years of existence and resistance to it, the GEAC recently amended its rules to give state governments the decision-making power on the approval of field trials, which is the first level of open release of GM crops. The proposed BRAI seeks to reverse this and take control of decisions related to any open releases of GM crops, be it for experiments or for commercialisation. This is clearly an unconstitutional move since agriculture and health, two sectors that would be impacted by GM crops, are under the state list of the Indian Constitution and states should have a role in deciding anything that has an impact on these sectors.

Adding to the unconstitutionality is the powers that have been given to the five-member Biotechnology Regulatory Authority to override the provisions in the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The provisions laid out in Section 2, Section 28, Section 70 and Section 77 of this Bill undermine the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression, and the right to life, by violating the provisions and protection of the RTI Act. And by preventing civil courts to have jurisdiction on any matter under the Act.

Anti-farmer and anti-people

This draft Bill clearly intends to circumvent opposition to GM and to facilitate the monopolisation of our seed sector by multinational seed giants like Monsanto. Besides having the wrong mandate, the proposals are completely sidestepping the precautionary approach and not addressing all the serious shortcomings of the existing regulatory regime. The BRAI proposal does not talk about the mandate of protecting India’s environment and health from the risks of modern biotechnology, which should be the primary mandate for any regulatory regime.

Given the growing concern in the country about the impact of GM crops to our health, our farmers livelihoods and food and seed sovereignty, it is high time that the government recognises it. Instead of coming up with such cantankerous legislations as the BRAI Bill to promote risky technologies like genetic modification, it should go after real solutions that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

In the light of public concern on GM crops and such blatant violations of constitutional rights in the current BRAI Bill version, the prime minister should not let his science and technology minister introduce the BRAI Bill in Parliament without widespread public consultations.

The author represents the Vaishali constituency of Bihar in the Lok Sabha and is a member of the Rashtriya Janata Dal. He was Union cabinet minister for rural development in the first United Progressive Alliance Cabinet


Agri Activities on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9 other followers

Archives

Agri Stats

  • 14,643 hits