Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jayanthi Natarajan on 27th March revealed in Rajya Sabha that the State Governments of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Karnataka have informed that they have taken a decision to prohibit environmental release of all Genetically Modified (GM) seeds.
She said, currently field trials have been allowed only in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Recently Government of Rajasthan has conveyed its decision to withdraw the No Objection Certificate (NOC) which was issued to Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants, University of Delhi for conduct of second season Biosafety Research Level (BRL-I) trial with GM Mustard in their state.
The Minister further stated that the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has been approached by the Seed Industries, Ministry of Agriculture and Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) to reconsider its decision on the need of NOC from the State Government prior to the conduct of GM crop field trial.
The matter was discussed in the GEAC meeting held on 14.12.2011 wherein it was recognized that issue of non-issuance of NOC by the State Govt. is mainly due to lack of clarity on the role State Govt. officials and lack of awareness on highly technical issues associated with biotechnology and biosafety measures.
It was also reiterated that the role of the State Government is very critical for compliance monitoring and therefore it is important to have a dialogue with the State Government to provide necessary clarification. Accordingly, it was agreed that the GEAC may give a detailed presentations with a view to address the concerns of the State Government and provide more clarity on the role of the State Government.