Coalition for a GM-Free India asks Chief Ministers to demand rejection of BRAI Bill at the NDC meeting.
Sends out Faxes to all CMs pointing out that the BRAI Bill is anti-constitutional and negates State Governments’ rights over Agriculture and Health sectors, even while it promotes dangerous GM crops.
New Delhi, 21st October 2011: The Coalition for a GM-Free India today sent out letters to the Chief Ministers of all the States requesting them to take up the issue of BRAI Bill at the upcoming NDC in order to safeguard the health of the people and sustainability of our farming from GM crops. The National Development Council (NDC) meeting is slated for tomorrow, 22nd of October, where the approach paper to the upcoming 12th five-year plan is being discussed. The approach paper explicitly states promotion of GM crops, a health and environmental hazard. GM crops today are seen globally as one of the biggest threats to sustaining agriculture. Civil society as well as scientists and various State Governments have been opposing the entry of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops in India.
The Union Government is planning to bring about a new regulatory system for GM crop approvals in India through a proposed statute for the purpose. The Bill called Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India [BRAI] Bill, 2011, is expected to be introduced in the upcoming winter session of the parliament. This new legislation is seen as an overt effort to push GM crops in the country. The Bill proposes to put in place a centralised technocratic body which will take all decisions on the approval of GM crops with absolutely no role for the Indian public or their elected representatives in the decision making.
The letter from the Coalition specifically pointed out that besides lowering the bar for GM crop approvals, the new regulatory system is also unconsitutional as it explicitly overrides the powers of the state governments on matters related to agriculture and health. It reminded the states that it was the opposition by 13 state governments that put the Bt Brinjal, the first GM food crop under a moratorium. The proposed BRAI negates the powers of State to reject GM crops and protect state’s interests.
The Coalition also requested the Chief Ministers to ask the Union Government to withdraw the bill in its current form and ensure that state governments and the public are consulted before any regulation on GM crops is put in place as this pertains to safety and sustainability of our food and farming.
The Coalition urged the Chief Ministers to take up the cause of ecological and socially farming for our sustainable future.