Genetically Modified Foods Making Inroads In India

India's new Environment Minister, Veerappa Moily, seems to be cozying up to the GMO crop industry. At the behest of big GMO seed providers, Moily has approved field trials of 200 genetically modified crops. The result? Outrage from citizens and health groups, as well as a 77% increase in Monstanto share price.

From Centre For Research On Globalization:

Can genetically modified (GM) food crops be kept out of India? Things seemed positive when, as Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh put a moratorium on GM eggplant (BT Brinjal). However, he has now been replaced. Veerappa Moily, India's Oil Minister, is now also India's new Environment Minister. Oily has approved field trials of 200 GM food crops on behalf of companies like Monsanto, Mahyco, Bayer and BASF. Monsanto's shares surged by 77 percent as soon as Moily's decision was announced.

For his efforts, Oily has been called a "corporate mole," (1) and the Coalition for a GM Free India and Greenpeace condemned Moily's action as "unscientific, anti-people and reeking of vested interests."

Rajesh Krishnan, convener, Coalition for a GM Free India said:

"The writing on the wall is clear now. The UPA government is against the interest of the citizens, our farmers and the welfare of the nation. It is hand in glove with the multi-national GM seed industry that stands to gain immensely from the numerous open field trails of GM crops."

Environmentalist Vandana Shiva argues that there are no detailed protocols that cover all dimensions of the ecological, health, and socio-economic impact of GM organisms (2) and that it was precisely to evolve such protocols and strengthen India's Bio-safety regulatory process that the Supreme Court appointed a Technical Expert Committee (TEC). The Committee recommended a ten-year moratorium on GM organism approvals till scientifically robust protocols, independent and competent institutions to assess risks and a strong regulatory system were developed.

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