August 1, 2014
India puts field trials of GM crops on hold
The newly elected government of India led by Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) is putting field trials of genetically modified crops on hold.
The previous Congress party-led government pushed for GM trials in the country, which had resulted in approvals of rice, corn, wheat and chickpea crops in the past few months. Trials are the first step towards the sale and plantation of GM seeds.
The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (Forum for National Awakening) and the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (Indian Farmers Association), two grassroots groups affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist outfit that supports the BJP, raised concern over the unknown effects on health and biodiversity as well as the longer-term prospect of putting food production in the hands of a few multinational companies.
The introduction of GM crops has always been controversial in India with opposition from political lines and many states. Currently, BT cotton is the only commercially available GM crop in India.