Mr. Prime Minister – You are wrong. GM crops are dangerous, and there is sound scientific evidence. says Coalition for GM Free India

Mr. Prime Minister – You are wrong. GM crops are dangerous, and there is sound scientific evidence. says Coalition for GM Free India

Coalition challenges the PM to prove that concerns about Bt Crops are prejudiced.

New Delhi, 4th Feb, 2014: Reacting to the promotional statement on Genetically Modified (GM) crops by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in his inaugural address at the Indian Science Congress which started in Jammu yesterday [1], the Coalition for a GM Free India stated that the Prime Minister is wrong and wilfully misleading the nation on the issue of genetically modified (GM) crops.

The statement by the PM that the nation “should not succumb to unscientific prejudices against Bt crop” comes at a time when there is a growing body of scientific evidence on the adverse impacts of GM crops on human health, environment and farm livelihoods. The Coalition had recently released a compilation of more than 400 abstracts of peer reviewed scientific papers that points to the various adverse impacts from GM crops [2].

The Final Report of the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) set up by the Supreme Court of India in a PIL against open releases of GMOs into the environment has pointed to the inherent risks associated with GM crops and the absolute failure of the Indian regulatory system on GM crops. The TEC comprised of eminent scientists from the fields of molecular biology, toxicology, biodiversity, nutrition science etc had recommended against any open release of GM crops including for experimental trials, until a robust regulatory system is put in place. This was followed by more than 250 eminent Indian scientists including Padma awardees and 11 current and former Vice chancellors, writing to the Prime Minister about the serious concerns on GM crops[3]. They demanded that the Government of India stay clear of any vested interests and accept the recommendations of the TEC Final report as it is based on sound science, principles of sustainability and intergenerational justice.

Challenging the PM to prove his point that concerns about Bt Crops (GM crops with  toxin genes from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringenesis) are unscientific and prejudiced, the coalition also reminded that it was his own Government had agreed to serious lacunae in the biosafety studies related to Bt Brinjal, the first GM food crop that came up for commercialisation and had put it under an indefinite moratorium. The Coalition for GM Free India demands Dr Manmohan Singh and his government to stop peddling risky GM crops and stand by the side of sound science and people of India.

Notes to the editor

1. The Prime Minister’s inaugural speech at the Indian Science Congress can be accessed at

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/pmreleases.aspx?mincode=3

2. The 2nd edition of the scientific compilation on adverse impacts of GM crops can be accessed at http://indiagminfo.org/?p=657

3. The letter to PM on concerns with GM crops by Indian Scientists can be accessed at http://indiagminfo.org/?p=654

For more info:

Rajesh Krishnan, Convenor, Coalition for GM Free India,

Mob: 09845650032 , email: rajeshecologist@gmail.com

Coalition for a GM-free India 

Website: www.indiagminfo.org, email : indiagmfree@gmail.com,  Facebook page – GM Watch India

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