State Governments…

Several state governments in India are skeptical/cautious about/opposed to GMOs in their state’s food and farming. Even though the GM proponents say that it is politics devoid of science, it is interesting to note that even Congress-ruled states have taken stands against GM crops in the past, taking a stand different from their own government at the Centre.

During the Bt brinjal debate in 2009-2010, at least 13 states governments expressed views against the approval for commercial cultivation of Bt brinjal in India. These include Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. (The North Eastern MPs’ Forum had also flagged off this issue and recommended a No-GM approach in the north eastern states of India; no state government had to state its stand so far given that the biotech industry has not yet sought to take up open air trials in these states).

After the recent change in regulatory procedures related to field trials of GM crops, wherein any GM crop for field trial can be planted only after receiving a No Objection Certificate from the state government, states like Bihar, Chattisgarh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh reiterated their stand against field trials. Uttar Pradesh government has instructed all its Universities not to take up any trials without the express consent of the state government. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh has set up a state level panel to look into the matter. Gujarat government decided not to allow GM food crop trials in the state.

West Bengal government has taken a decision to ban GM seeds in the state.






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