Greenpeace urges members of the Standing Committee to recommend its withdrawal
BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: In a latest development , the contentious Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill which was tabled in the budget session of the parliament by the Science &Technology Minister, Jaipal Reddy has been sent to the Standing Committee of Science and Technology, Environment and Forests for reviewing and reccomendations. The introduction of the bill saw strong opposition from MPs from more than ten political parties and a host of civil society organisations and individuals including National Advisory Council members like Aruna Roy.
BRAI Bill, though listed for introduction in 2011, had been in a limbo for the last 3 years owing to concerns both inside and outside the Parliament about it becoming a single window clearance mechanism which will lower the bar for open releases of Genetically Modified Organisms into the environment. (ref-our legal critique) There is a growing scientific evidence on the negative impacts of GMOs including GM crops on human health, environment and farm livelihoods.
Due to the controversial nature of the Bill and its flawed mandate, it was demanded by several Members of Parliament that the Bill be referred to a Joint Committee of the Houses so that a comprehensive debate on it could occur.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, in their report on GM crops last year, had strongly recommended to the government to bring a regulatory system with the primary mandate to safeguard Biosafety from negative impacts of GM crops instead of such proposals like BRAI.
Greenpeace India urges the Members of the Parliamentary standing committee on Science and Technology and Environment to uphold the interests of our citizens and recommend the withdrawal of the BRAI Bill, 2013. What is needed is a Biosafety Protection legislation to safeguard the health of our citizens, our biodiversity and farm livelihoods against risky technologies like GM crops. This is also inline with India’s commitment to International agreements like the Cartagena protocol on Biosafety.