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Feb 25, 2010

India Places Moratorium on BT Brinjal (GM Eggplant)

The Economic Times (of India) reports from New Delhi that the decision to place a moratorium on the commercial release of gene-modified (GM) BT brinjal (eggplant) was based on Environmental Minister Jairam Ramesh's recommendation.  The topic generated a very public debate within the Indian cabinet, one that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would have rather avoided. 

The Economic Times reports one of the cabinet ministers confided that the moratorium on BT brinjal "will not be an endless moratorium. This period will be used for thrashing out differences.” Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan are in favor of immediately approving commercial release of the crop.  Minister Ramesh is seeking more scientific tests and consultations with state governments.

Prime Minister Singh is reported as saying that biotechnology was an "important option for higher agricultural productivity and ensuring food security”.  Yet he noted that the need to make certain that BT brinjal does not harm human and animal health or bio-diversity.  The ministers all agree to set up a National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority to "inspire confidence and stimulate public and private investment in biotechnology."  This would be separate from the GEAC, which is responsible for scientific issues.

For more see: "Ramesh Wins First Round, Brinjal In Chiller," Economic Times of India, 25 Feb. 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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