Enumerate the concerns regarding GM crops and steps taken for their safe use in India.

Published: June 18, 2019

Genetically modified crops are plants whose DNA has been modified using genetic engineering techniques.�The aim is to introduce new traits in the plant which does not occur naturally in the species like resistance to certain pests, diseases, environmental conditions, herbicides etc.
Concerns:

  • Genetic changes made in a plant can make it unsafe for consumption
  • These have adverse impacts on human or animal health
  • It introduce problems in the soil or neighbouring crops
  • Some traits of genes start expressing themselves only after several generations, and thus one can never be sure about their safety
  • The business interests behind GM crops creates an issue also
  • Intellectual property laws are also an issue

Legal Provisions

  • Sale, storage, transportation and usage of unapproved GM seeds is a punishable offence under the Rules of Environmental Protection Act 1989
  • Sale of unapproved seeds can attract action under the Seed Act of 1966 and the Cotton Act of 1957
  • The Environmental Protection Act provides for a jail term of five years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh for violation of its provisions, and cases can be filed under the other two Acts

The concerns over GM crops and related risks should be addressed by following internationally accepted procedures for assessing safety parameters.

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