Current status of GMOs in India
Theme of The Meeting: Current Status Of GMOs In India. Leading academic scientists from research universities and seed industry met in Hotel Park...
Leading academic scientists from research universities and seed industry met in Hotel Park Hyatt for a meeting on “Current status of GMOs in India” organised by Amar Immunodiagnostics, a city based biotechnology company to discuss current issues related to approval of GMOs in India. It was suggested that as the country faces an agrarian crisis, it is necessary that we empower our farmers with the best technology available in the world. Many of our neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, China and Philippines have started growing GMOs or have made significant progress in getting ready to approve several GMOs in their country.
Large agro based countries Brazil, Argentina, Australia, USA and Canada have already moved to growing GMOs and currently grow close to 80 % of corn, cotton, Soybean and canola as GMO crop. The European union which has been resisting such a move has also changed its stand recently and permitted member countries the freedom to grow GMOs. India has only allowed commercial cultivation of cotton and the last approval of new gene was in 2009. Indian farmers do not want to be left behind as many Indian scientists have also been developing new genes.
Dr. Anandkumar, an expert in transgenic technology and current director of Insititute of Biotechnology emphasised the need to approve new GMO crops as regulatory trials have already been completed. Dr. Sesikeran, RCGM chairman and leading expert in nutrition emphasised the safety aspect of GMO as food and informed that GMO food is safe and is already being consumed by millions over last 10 years. Dr. Shivendra Bajaj, Executive Director of Association of Biotech Led Enterprises- Agriculture Focus Group (ABLE- AG) highlighted the potential benefit of biotechnology in other crops and appealed to the regulators to resume the meeting of GEAC which has not considered any applications from agri biotech industry since July 2014.
As part of the Indian governments “Make in India” campaign, Amar Immunodiagnostics launched a first test in India to detect presence of three different genes in cotton plant in less than five minutes. The indigenously developed Rapid Test Kit is inexpensive, allows for 99.9% accuracy and does not necessitate a laboratory setting (unlike the PCR and/or ELISA test), thereby making it easy and convenient for its end users. Dr. Bhanushali, a chief scientist of the company explained that besides seed companies, the Rapid Testing Kit can be used by traders, government regulators, port authorities and even farmers.