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Healthy debate required on biotechnology: Anwar

PTI | Last Updated: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 22:33

New Delhi: Considering biotechnology to be area of focus in improving farm productivity, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar Thursday said there is a need for "healthy scientific debate" on the issue.

"Bio-Technology is expected to play a major role in improving productivity. There is need for a healthy scientific debate on the whole topic since it has been contentious not only in India but across the world with strong opinions being expressed on both sides of the debate," Anwar said.

He was speaking at the conference on "Future of Food Governance" organised by the Governance Now in association with Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE).

Anwar added that there is need for robust regulatory system which has scientifically established mechanism for evaluation of genetically modified (GM) crops so that all the issues raised on this matter can be put to rest.

Speaking at the same event, Additional Secretary in Ministry of Agriculture Dalip Singh said,"With the growing population and increasing demand of food, Biotechnology is where future lies."

The government has allowed commercial cultivation of Bt cotton, while moratorium has been put on Bt brinjal.

Permission has been given to private companies to conduct field trials of GM crops such as cotton, corn and maize in Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

However, a technical committee appointed by the Supreme Court had recently recommended an indefinite moratorium on open field trials of GM crops till the deficiencies in the regulatory and safety systems are effectively addressed.

"There were similar fears were expressed at the time of launch of Bt cotton, now its success speaks for itself, to meet the increasing demand there is need to embrace the bio-technology," ABLE Executive Director Nadoor Seetharama said.

First Published: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 22:33

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