MPs oppose biotech regulator
New Delhi: The Bill to set up a biotech
regulator appears to have run into further trouble with some
lawmakers opposing the proposal to allow the Ministry of
Science and Technology to govern the authority.
The Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI)
Bill was listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha in the
Monsoon Session of Parliament but was withdrawn after members
of the Congress, BJP and CPI(M) raised objections.
"The Bill was withdrawn after some members, including from
the Congress, said they would oppose it at the introduction
stage itself," Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao
Deshmukh said here.
Among members having strong reservations were Jyoti Mirdha
(Cong), C P Thakur (BJP), Basudeb Acharia (CPM) and Raghuvansh
Prasad Singh (RJD), who felt the regulator should be under the
Ministry of Environment and Forests or Health and not under
the Ministry of Science and Technology, whose role is to
Thakur has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking
him not to go ahead with the BRAI Bill in its current form.
Deshmukh said the Health Ministry was not too keen on
becoming the governing ministry for the BRAI. Mirdha said the
Bill was not a good piece of biosafety legislation and
stressed on the need to have wider consultations.
"If introduced, the Bill should be referred to a joint
select committee, with representatives from Parliamentary
Standing Committee on Agriculture and Health," she told PTI.
At the initial stages of discussions some portions of the
proposed Bill were considered to be in conflict with functions
of the health and environment ministries and resolving them
has put brakes on the Bill`s progress.
The BRAI proposal has had a controversial history with
green groups opposing it on various grounds, particularly on
the point that it wrests control from state governments over
clearances to genetically modified crops.
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