AP sets up 5-member panel on GM crops


Our Bureau

Hyderabad, July 27:

With the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) mandating agri bioteh companies to get States’ nod before going ahead with field trials to test GM (genetically modified) traits in plants, the Andhra Pradesh Government has set up a five-member panel to consider proposals for such trials in the State.

The Principal Secretary (Agriculture) would act as the ex-officio Chairman of the panel. It would also have Commissioner and Director of Agriculture, Vice-Chancellor of Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University, Director of Research of ANGRAU and Special Secretary (or Additional Secretary or joint Secretary in Agriculture Department). The latter member would also act as Convener of the panel.

In an Order issued recently, the Government said that biotechnology (BT) had become an important source of crop improvement. “BT research is progressing at an accelerated pace all over the world and needs encouragement in the State also. The State Government has put no barriers to BT experiments and research till now.

The system of regulating BT research was at very primitive stage in the State, while the system was fairly well established at the Union Government level.

Various scientific institutions, universities and bio-technology companies were conducting basic trials and larger bio-safety trials in the State, based on the approvals given by the Review Committee on Genetically Modified Crops (RCGM) and GEAC. Standard Operating Procedures set up at Government of India level were being followed by the State agencies also.

“GEAC has altered the system now and made it mandatory for companies to get a no-objection certificates from respective States.

“The panel will sit periodically to discuss such proposals from companies and other research organisations and take a call,” a senior official of the Agriculture Ministry said.

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