In the sequence of events for the commercialization of the GM Mustard , Government has submitted detailed report backing the safety of the crop and hence its commercialization. Last Monday, the apex court asked the government to file an affidavit about its final decision on GM mustard by Friday. The case is now scheduled to be heard on Monday. (for series of events on the news : follow our link : http://www.krishijagran.com/news/sc-gives-govt-time-to-decide-on-commercialization-of-gm-mustard/ ) The affidavit filed by environment ministry stresses that risk assessment studies showed no harmful effect of GM mustard on humans or animals.

The government has told the Supreme Court that genetically modified (GM) mustard crop is not herbicide tolerant and has a “proven history of safe use” for more than 20 years. India’s regulator for GM products—the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)—on 11 May recommended approval for commercial production of GM mustard. Though the GEAC approval is currently awaiting nod from environment minister Harsh Vardhan, activists have already approached the Supreme Court. They are arguing that proper procedures were not followed by GEAC while giving its go-ahead and that GM mustard will be harmful to health.

"Rapeseed /canola (sister crop of mustard) hybrids based on same technology have been a major success in Canada, USA and Australia … the technology has a proven history of safe use for more than 20 years. There is no report of any proven ill effects whatsoever in the use of this technology,” said the environment ministry in its affidavit. “It is submitted that even if a decision is taken by the central government which may aggrieve the petitioner, there would be substantial time for petitioner to approach this court for redressal …” the affidavit added. The environment ministry said “the decision against which stay is sought for has not yet been taken, and even if the decision is taken, the production of GM mustard would be monitored for the first two years after approval."

 The ministry also argued that mustard production in India has been stagnant at around 7-8 MT (million tonnes) per year for the last 20 years and with hybrids like GM mustard, production would be “substantially enhanced”.



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