400,000 People Petition Parliament Panel To Withdraw BRAI Bill : A Biased Bill

This Bill is an attempt to circumvent public opposition to GM crops in the country,” said Deb Kumar Chattopadhyay, a Greenpeace India activist.  “While the Government failed us, we have great hopes that the Parliamentary Committee comprising MPs from various political parties will pay heed to the voice of citizens.”…


a-biased-billThe deadline for public feedback on the biotechnology Bill expired on 25 August. The petitions demanding withdrawal of the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill were handed over to T Subbarami Reddy, chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee, on the eve of expiry of deadline for public feedback on the proposed law. Members of the Coalition for GM Free India submitted petitions signed by over 400,000 people to the Parliamentary Committee of Science and Technology which is deliberating on the biotechnology Bill. It is meant to regulate and monitor biotechnology in the country. The Standing Committee is currently reviewing the controversial BRAI Bill, 2013, which was introduced by the Ministry of Science and Technology in spite of opposition both inside and outside Parliament. While accepting the petitions, Reddy assured the delegation that the Standing Committee will keep these public concerns in mind while deliberating on the Bill.
‘Bill meant to promote Monsanto’
The BRAI Bill, 2013, proposes to set up a single window clearance mechanism for contentious genetically modified crops into the country. Renu Singh, member of the Coalition for a GM Free India, said the law “is designed to lower the regulatory bar to give a free hand to biotech giants like Monsanto to push in their GM crops and take control of our seeds, farming and food. It is nothing but a ‘Monsanto Protection and Promotion Act’.” NGOs and activists have said the Bill is biased, unscientific and non-transparent in dealing with regulation of genetically modified crops. The Bill comes at a time when there is mounting scientific evidence on their adverse impact on human health, environment and farm livelihoods, they added.
“This Bill is an attempt to circumvent public opposition to GM crops in the country,” said Deb Kumar Chattopadhyay, a Greenpeace India activist. “While the Government failed us, we have great hopes that the Parliamentary Committee comprising MPs from various political parties will pay heed to the voice of citizens.”

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