Sharad Pawar spreads falsehoods in the Parliament on GM Crops

Coalition For a GM Free India urges Parliamentarians to stop the Agri Minister from misleading the Parliament and Nation

New Delhi, 27th Aug 2013: Registering strong protest on the consistent false statements by the Union Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar, to promote GM crops, the Coalition for a GM Free India urged the Members of the Parliament to challenge Pawar for repeatedly misleading the Parliament. This was in response to answers given by the Union Agriculture Minister in the Lok Sabha to questions raised by various M.P.s today on Genetically Modified (GM) crops in India.

Countering Pawar’s statements on Bt cotton (the only commercially cultivated GM crop in India) having increased yields and farmers’ income, Rajesh Krishnan, Co-Convenor, Coalition for a GM Free India, stated that “records of Cotton Advisory Board which is also quoted by the Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) show that rate of increase in productivity was higher in the Pre-Bt cotton era and tanked after the rapid expansion of Bt cotton. The rate of increase was 69% during the period of 2000-1 to 2005-06 by which Bt cotton area was only 18%. The rate of increase in yield was a moderate 17% in the following 3 years and has been showing a decreasing trend ever since when Bt cotton area has reached almost 95% [1]. Hence, Sharad Pawar’s statement in Parliament is not only a blatant lie but dangerous propaganda for a controversial technology. It is unacceptable that the Agriculture Ministry refuses to uphold rigorous science in this case.”

The Coalition also drew attention to the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, comprising of M.Ps across party lines, on GM crops (August 2012). The report tabled in the Parliament last year had recommended a precautionary approach towards GM crops [2]. As part of its consultative process to get the views of various stakeholders on GM crops, the committee also held a public consultation in Yavatmal in Vidarbha, which is part of the cotton belt, and one of the centres of agrarian distress and also known as the suicide capital of India. This was to find out the ground reality on Bt cotton’s contribution to the distress. Pointing to the continued distress in cotton belt the committee had questioned the promotion of Bt cotton by the govt.

“It is a cruel joke that the Minister makes a statement on the floor of parliament that Bt cotton cultivation has increased the incomes of cotton farmers by 2-fold and 4-fold in rainfed and irrigated regions of the country respectively. If that was true, what accounts for the thousands of farmers in the cotton belt committing suicides year after year in the same period” asked Sridhar Radhakrishnan of Coalition for a GM-Free India. Reminding Pawar that it is thanks to Bt cotton that Monsanto, the American seed giant whose proprietary material Bt cotton is, controls more than 90% of the cotton seed market in the country, he stated that “Monsanto with its royalties from Bt cotton, amounting to hundreds of crores, seems to be the only one which has benefited from this crop in India. The Agriculture Minister needs to state whether he is on the side of this American multinational or on the side of our Indian farmers.”

The Coalition had earlier written a letter to Sharad Pawar urging him to take notice of the mounting scientific evidences against GM crops and stop their mindless promotion that he has been doing [3]. The letter also asked him to acknowledge the report by the Technical Expert Committee, set up by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in response to a PIL against open releases of GM crops. The TEC in its main report had pointed to the various risks posed by GM crops and strongly recommended for a robust regulatory system to be put in place before even open field trials of GM crops are further permitted.

The Coalition for GM free India demands that the Union Agriculture Minister stop his mindless promotion of GM crops and urges the Hon’ble Members of Parliament to question the inaccurate and biased opinions of the Minister on this regard.

Notes to the Editor:

A 10 year review of Bt cotton by Coalition for a GM Free India can be accessed at

The Parliamentary standing committee on Agriculture report on GM crops is available at

The letter to Sharad Pawar from Coalition for GM Free India can be accessed at

For More information

Rajesh Krishnan, Coalition for a GM Free India, Mob: 09845650032

Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Coalition for a GM Free India, Mob: 09995358205

Coalition for a GM-free India

Website:, email :, Facebook page – GM Watch India

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