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POLICY: Indian Minister for Environment: Biotechnology willdominate the 21st century



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Biotechnology will dominate the 21st century: Namo Narayan Meena
SOURCE: Press Information Bureau, Government of India, India
AUTHOR: Ministry of Environment and Forests, India, Press Release
URL:    http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=27636
DATE:   09.05.2007
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Biotechnology will dominate the 21st century: Namo Narayan Meena

Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Shri Namo Narayan
Meena said bio-technology will dominate the 21st century just as
information technology dominated the last century. Addressing the 10th
meeting of the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Environment and
Forests, last night, he informed the meeting that the stay on Genetic
Engineering Approval Commttee has been vacated today during judicial
hearing. The entire research activities of the country which was at a
standstill, will get momentum and Genetic Engineering Approval Committee
will be able to work speedily. Shri Meena assured along with treating
this field as a priority area with investments, priority will be given
to proper risk assessment and appropriate measures to mitigate its
adverse impacts.

Before the presentation on living modified organisms- LMOs and
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), he said in bio-pharma and bio-
seeds industries, the turnover has already crossed a billion mark and
the growth rate is estimated as 40 per cent. Referring to the approval
of transgenic crop Bt cotton and 20 recombinant therapeutic products in
India, he said 62 hybrids of cotton have been approved for commercial
cultivation across 9 cotton growing states viz; Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat,
Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu
after reviewing the performance and other criteria.

The area under cotton cultivation has increased from 72,000 acres in
2002 to 93 lakh acres in 2006. Overall production has gone up to 24.4
million bales in 2005-06 as compared to 15.8 million bales in 2001-02.
The productivity has increased from 308 kg. Per hectare to 450 kg. Per
hectare during the same period. The Minister of State added the
pesticide usage has also come down by 2260 MT during 2005-06. Though
there has been overall acceptance of the Bt technology by cotton growing
farmers, the issues and concerns raised are being examined by the
Regulatory Agencies. He said Bt cotton is the first GM crop in the
country, which is making us to pass through learning phase. Sale of
illegal/ spurious seeds insect resistant management, compliance of
conditions etc. are various issues which will be taken care of by the
Ministry.

This Ministry is the Nodal Ministry for implementation of Cartagena
Protocol on Bio-Safety. This is an International Agreement under
Convention of biological diversity. The Ministry is also implementing a
World Bank GEF capacity building project on bio-safety which includes
strengthening the national capacity for effective legislative frame-
work, operational mechanism, establishing bio-safety data base and
supporting a network for research in the area of risk assessment and
monitoring.

The Committee Members appreciated the presentation on Bio-safety
Regulation of Living Modified Organisms as well as Genetically Modified
Organisms in India. They inquired about the Authority, which will
monitor and control Bio-Safety assessments of Transgenic crops.
Welcoming the higher production of Bt cotton, Members suggested to
improve the quality of long staple in cotton.

Earlier, Members also sought the action taken on the projects and
progress which were discussed during the last Consultative Committee
Meeting. Concluding the Meeting, Shri Meena said that Bio-technology has
the potential for ensuring food security, decreased pressure on land
use, increased crop yields and reduced use of water and agrochemicals in
agriculture. Genetic engineering offers benefits for agriculture,
medical treatments, new industrial products, improved fibers and fuels,
S/shri Mahaveer Bhagora, Dushyant Singh, Basudeb Barman, from Lok Sabha
and Shri R. Shunmugasundaram from Rajya Sabha attended the Meeting.


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                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Bio-safety measures must regarding GMOs use
SOURCE: newKerala.com, India
AUTHOR: 
URL:    http://www.newkerala.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=24289
DATE:   30.04.2007
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Bio-safety measures must regarding GMOs use

Chandigarh, Apr 30: The concerns about the potential risks associated
with the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to human health,
environment and biodiversity must be addressed with taking bio-safety
measures, S Ramesh Inder Singh, Chief Secretary Punjab said here today.

Though there were proven advantages and commercial potential of GMOs in
both agriculture and heathcare but proper bio-safety measures are must
to eliminate any concerns about their and safety, Mr Singh said in his
inaugural address at "Training Workshop on biosafety issues." He
stressed that the state government was fully committed to implement
rules and regulation for the manufacture, use, import, export and
storage of hazardous micro-organisms, GMOs, notified by the Centre in
this regard.

The Chief Secretary informed that the Punjab Government would establish
a Knowledge City in S.A.S. Nagar (Mohali) comprising National Institute
of Agri-Food Biotechnology and a Biotech Park for research and
development in biotechnology. With setting up this mega project a new
area to the research factuality would come up which would lead to the
overall development of the Northern States, he said.

On the occasion Mr. G. Balachandran, Joint Secretary Union Ministry of
Environment and Forests in his presidential address deliberated on the
pharmaceutical and agri biotech products coming to India which are
posing major threat to our bio-diversity and indigenous crops and
stressed the need for safety guidelines in biotech.

Presenting an overview on the biosafety Dr. Manorajan Hota, Additional
Director, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests said that Centre and
states must jointly address the issues and capacity building efforts on
biosafety.

The workshop was organized for the members of the state Biotech Co-
ordination Committees, District level Biotechnology Committees and
Institutional Biosafety Committees by Ministry of Environment and
Forests in collaboration with Bio-tech Consortium India and Punjab State
Council for Science and Technology.

In the technical session eminent experts including Dr. P.Ananda Kumar,
Principal Scientist, National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology and
Chairman, Monitoring- cum -Evaluation Committee gave detailed account of
issues pertaining to biosafety such as containment requirements for lab
or green house, field, trials and open release of GM crops and
healthcare products and the challenges involved in information-sharing
on this subject.

M.P.Singh, Secretary Science, Technology & Environment Punjab flagged
the issued required to be addressed to ensure effective enforcement of
biosafety regulations and gave an overview of existing regulatory bodies
and monitory mechanisms in Punjab.

Dr. B.S. Sidhu, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, Dr. B.S. Dhillon,
Director Research, PAU, Sh. R.K. Khullar, Director Agriculture, Haryana,
Dr. B.S. Chillar, Director Research, Haryana Agriculture University, Dr.
Bhanu Neopany, Principal Scientific Officer, Deptt. Of Biotechnology,
Himachal Pradesh presented status of activities involving GMOs in their
respective states.


-------------------- archived at  http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------


                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Bitter harvest
SOURCE: Times of India, India
AUTHOR: Vandana Shiva
URL:    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bitter_harvest/articleshow/
1999318.cms
DATE:   04.05.2007
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Bitter harvest

Farmers of India are facing a deep crisis - 150,000 have committed
suicide in the last decade of trade liberalisation. Farmers' incomes are
falling. India's anti-farmer policies are heavily influenced by the
World Bank - a pity that the Bank's economists do not acknowledge this
('Produce And Perish', April 26).

The crisis of farmers' falling incomes has evolved in two phases. First
came the Green Revolution (1965-1990). The second phase is the
structural adjustment and trade liberalisation phase. First, the Bank
pushed India on a monoculture path of chemical addiction. It provided
credit to introduce a capital intensive agricultural model.

The Bank and USAID exerted pressure for favourable conditions for
foreign investment in India's fertiliser industry, import liberalisation
and elimination of domestic controls to import fertilisers, seeds and
pesticides. The World Bank provided the credit.

The World Bank finances were an important element in the spread of a
vast network needed for distribution of Green Revolution varieties. In
1963, the National Seed Corporation was established. In 1969, the Terai
Seed Corporation was started with a World Bank loan of $13 million. This
was followed by two National Seeds Project (NSP) loans.

The overall objective of the projects was to develop state institutions
and create a new infrastructure for increasing the production of
certified seeds. In 1988, the World Bank gave India a fourth loan for
the seed sector to make India's seed industry more market-responsive.

The involvement of the private sector, including multinational
corporations, in seed production is a special objective of NSP III ($150
million). This was viewed as necessary because sustained demand for
seeds did not expand as expected. In self-pollinated crops, especially
wheat and rice, farmer retention and farmer-to-farmer transfer accounted
for much of the seed used. The Bank pressure enabled the entry of seed
corporations like Monsanto. Today, most farmer suicides are precisely in
those areas where Monsanto's seeds have spread.

Monsanto has been taken to court for its monopolistic practices. The
hoarding and monopolistic practices of corporations like Cargill, Lever
and ITC have pushed up the price of wheat. Farmers are earning less and
the poor are paying more for food. The universal public distribution
system was dismantled under World Bank pressure as have the APMC Acts.
India's food security and sovereignty is being severely undermined by
every policy intervention of the World Bank. Trade liberalisation and
structural adjustment have added to the burden of Indian farmers.

Liberalisation under the structural adjustment programme of World Bank
consists of the following elements: Liberalising fertiliser imports and
deregulating domestic manufacturing and the distribution of fertilisers;
removing land ceiling regulation, subsidies on irrigation, electricity
and credit and creating conditions to facilitate the trading of canal
irrigation water rights; deregulating the wheat, rice, sugarcane, cotton
and edible oil and oilseed industries; dismantling the food security
system; and removing controls on markets, traders, and processors, and
subsidies to cooperatives.

Other elements are abolishing the Essential Commodities Act; the general
ban on futures trading; inventory controls; and selective credit
controls on inventory financing; treating farmers cooperatives on an
equal footing with the private sector.

The Bank is recommending that India stops focusing on food grains and
instead focus on export crop such as vegetables, shrimps and flowers.
The World Bank's recent report only addresses horticulture for exports.
This will not improve farmers' incomes; it will rob them of land and
livelihoods. Export crops are at the root of the land conflicts in
Barnala, Punjab. An Action Aid report shows how giant corporations drive
down prices of agricultural produce. Hooking India's agriculture to Wal-
Mart and TESCO will dispossess and deprive Indian farmers.

Our recent report on Corporate Hijack of Retail also shows how the model
of corporate industrial globalised agriculture - that the World Bank is
promoting - leads to falling prices for farmers and rising prices for
consumers.


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