Embargo on Bt Brinjal a Great Disservice to India Says AcademicianJune 1, 2012
Delivering a 19th Dr. B.P. Pal Memorial Lecture on "Research Priorities for Application of GM Technology to Indian Agriculture", Prof. G. Padmanaban said the embargo on Bt brinjal a great disservice to the country in terms of turning away researchers from the field of biotechnology. He further cautioned that even industry is reluctant to invest in transgenic crop research due to prevailing political and regulatory uncertainty on crop biotech in the country. "It is suicidal for a country to deny itself a technology option," he added.
The lecture was presided by Dr. P.L. Gautam, Chairperson of the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers' Rights Authority (PPVFRA) of India. Elaborating on the potential applications of transgenic technology to agriculture as multi-faceted and fascinating, he said that it is unfortunate that controversies, often based on wrong or exaggerated interpretations of scientific facts, have threatened the exploitation of this technology in India. It is not as if transgenic or GM technology will be a stand-alone strategy, but it can easily blend with traditional and alternate approaches to provide a holistic solution. None of the technologies are mutually exclusive and it will be a folly to deny this country of a technology option, he said.
"The debate for and against GM technology has raged all over the world and people have taken extreme positions one way or the other and it appears to me that this is not an issue that can be settled through arguments, he said. "Ultimately it has to be a political decision, based on a clear perception of its utility and a careful risk-benefit analysis and not be guided by populistic movements. One hopes that overwhelming scientific data and success on the field would eventually lead to realistic decisions being taken on the application of GM technology, which is highly relevant to improve agricultural productivity in India."
A full copy of 19 Dr. B.P. Pal Memorial Lecture " Research Priorities for Application of GM Technology to Indian Agriculture" is available on IARI website at http://iari.res.in/files/Dr-BP-Pal-Memorial-Lecture-26-05-2012.pdf.
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