Study Material | Test Series
Drishti IAS
call1800-121-6260 / 011-47532596
Drishti The Vision Foundation
(A unit of VDK Eduventures Pvt. Ltd.)
prelims Test Series 2019
बेसिक इंग्लिश का दूसरा सत्र (कक्षा प्रारंभ : 22 अक्तूबर, शाम 3:30 से 5:30)
Field Trial Permission for 200 GM Crops
Mar 11, 2014

Seed companies and agriculture research institutes can go ahead with scientific field trials of different transgenic varieties of GM crops which had got clearance from the government's regulatory body Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) in March last year.  The Environment Ministry gave his go-ahead to the move on 6 March. Giving clearance the Environment Minister said he had cleared the file as the GEAC's decision was not bound by the Supreme Court's moratorium (on field trials) order.

The decisionwill now allow companies and institutions to put more than 200 transgenic varieties of rice, wheat, maize, castor and cotton on field trials to check their suitability for commercial production. It is emphasized that these companies (both government and private) and research institutions can, however, go for trial only after getting nod from respective state governments. If a particular state government does not allow it, these entities will not be able to go for field trial."

It is learnt that some states like Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat do not have any problem in allowing field trials. At present, government allows commercial production of only BT Cotton (transgenic variety of cotton). Though BT Brinjal had passed its field trial, it was not allowed to go for commercial production amid strong protests by civil society groups.

Though the GEAC in its last meeting on March 22 last year had given approval for field trials of these 200odd varieties of food and non-food crops, the then environment minister had decided to keep it in abeyance until strict regulatory mechanism and bio safety protection regime were put in place in the country.

Some Facts

  • India has overtaken Canada to emerge as the fourth largest country to grow genetically modified (GM) crops in 2013 as farmers here planted BT Cotton in about 11 million hectares. In the previous year, farmers in India had planted BT otton (the only approved GM crop for commercial cultivation) in about 10.8 million hectare area. 
  • The global area under GM crops continued to expand through 2013, albeit at a sluggish pace of around 3 per cent. Area under GM crops increased to 175.2 million hectares in 2013, about 5 million hectares more than last year, according to the International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) that tracks the GM acreages.
  • The US continued to be the largest country under GM crops, accounting for 40 per cent of the total planted area globally.
  • The GM area in Brazil expanded at a faster pace last year compared to other countries, followed by Argentina.
  • Egypt has stopped planting GM crops, reducing the total number of countries to 27, countries such as Canada saw a decline in area.
  • Of the 27 countries that planted GM crops last year, 19 were developing nations and 8 were developed countries.
  • Developing nations planted more GM crops than their developed counterparts the second consecutive year with farmers in Latin America, Asia and Africa accounting for 54 per cent of the 175 million hectares.
  • Bangladesh approved the commercial planting of BT Brinjal, while the situation in Egypt put planting on-hold, pending a Government review.
  • Panama and Indonesia were two other nations that approved cultivation of BT crops.
  • About 18 million farmers planted the biotech crops in 2013 compared with 17.3 million in 2012. Besides economic gains, farmers benefited enormously from at least a 50 per cent reduction in the number of insecticide applications.
  • In the European Union, five nations: Spain, Portugal, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia planted 15 per cent more area than last year at 1.48 lakh hectares under BT Maize


Helpline Number : 87501 87501
To Subscribe Newsletter and Get Updates.