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Monday, 25 August 2014

GM Revolution ASSOCHAM urges Centre to take pro-poor stand & promote GM

GM Revolution
ASSOCHAM urges Centre to take pro-poor stand & promote GM

ASSOCHAM urges Centre to take pro-poor stand & promote GM
Three weeks after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) overruled field trials for 15 genetically modified (GM) crops, a group of members of Parliament from BJP and the Shiv Sena are heading to the US on a week-long study tour sponsored by global seed giant, Monsanto. The group departs on Saturday.

Palash Biswas

Indira Gandhi packed green revolution with militarisation of the state.It denied the land reforms most essential.Itchanged traditional harvesting and moden farming was tagged with chemicals,frtilizers,machines,big dams,electricity and so on.

Production cost began to multiply intensifying agrarian crisis which resulted in Operation Blue Star,Bhopal Gas Tragedy and Nuclear energy.

Economic problems and the problems of production destroyed productive relations and equations.

Indira did this charishma all on the name of development projecting socialist model.

Enmasse suicide phenomenon in rural peasantry is the best contribution of disastrous green revolution which killed rural India.Killed cereals all the way promoted market linked cash crops introducing starvation  all round.

The killing enhanced with it`s ultimate  transformation into genocide  culture with urbanisation on the name of industrialisation divesting  the manufacturing and excluding the entire toiling masses out of production system.

It resulted in near zero agrarian growth rate as well as zero level industrial growth and the economy simultaneously was tagged with United States of America.

This is the growth story of exclusion and genocide,internal security problems.

This is the growth story of strategic selling off the resources and India becoming US periphery.

The growth saga later was injected with Mandal versus Kamandal war political and the politics became religion.

This religion became the surrogate mother of all reforms to undermine Indian economy all round.

This is the basic theme of first round of Green Revolution started with PL 480 and ended in nuclear alliance with United States of America.

The mandate created to install a default business friendly government to push free inflow of foreign capitals and US weapons,thus,may not stop Monsanto and genetically modified crops to poison Indian people starving for food.

However,ET reports that A government committee may have given genetically modified crops a shot in the arm but the Sangh Parivar allies are in no mood to allow field trials
Bhagwati Prakash Sharma, national co-convenor of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), is a busy man these days. On August 19, he will lead a meeting of national leaders of 35 mass or ganizations in Delhi, including farmers, traders and even the BJP's student wing. It's just the beginning. In October, between Dussehra and Diwali, a massive jamboree of over 100 groups will meet in an event styled Swadeshi Sangam. The agenda is wide -from genetically modified (GM) crops to foreign direct investment (FDI) to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Opposition of monsanto by Swadeshi Sangam sounds like the echo of BJM in opposition to labor reforms.
Result bound to be ditto.
As love jihad turnaround happens to be in vogue.
Meanwhile, Industry body Assocham has pitched for allowing field trials in biotechnology (BT) crops, terming it as a 'pro-poor' step that will help in raising food production to feed the country's rising population.

On July 18, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, that works under the Environment Ministry, had given green signal for field trials of genetically-modified rice, mustard, cotton, chickpea and brinjal.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) in a paper titled 'Analysis on GM Crops in India' said, "There is a need for the government to take a pro-poor stand by allowing large-scale production of genetically modified (GM) crops.

"... Develop technologies for long-term agriculture sustainability without considering social discourses which shall hamper food security ambitions to meet growing demands of country's burgeoning population."

The industry body also said that biotechnology is vital for fulfilling the socio-economic needs of the country's growing population.

"Biotechnology applications in agriculture should be a part of the package of solutions to address socio-economic needs of our growing population which is likely to reach 150 crore by next decade," said Assocham Director General D S Rawat while releasing the paper.

With a view to deliver best value of the produce to farmer, the government and the industry should work together to identify high priority crops useful for the country and provide necessary policy support, Rawat added.
Business Standard reports something different:

Three weeks after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) overruled field trials for 15 genetically modified (GM) crops, a group of members of Parliament from BJP and the Shiv Sena are heading to the US on a week-long study tour sponsored by global seed giant, Monsanto. The group departs on Saturday.

The MPs will first attend a 'Farm Progress Show' in Iowa, then visit the Monsanto headquarters in St Louis, Missouri. The trip will cost an estimated $6,000 (Rs 363,540) per head for travel, food and accommodation, according to a Monsanto spokesperson, who confirmed the company would bear these costs.

"In line with industry practice, we have extended invitations to farmers, industry experts, media and members of Parliament across the political spectrum to visit the show and experience for themselves the advances in agriculture all over the world," said the spokesperson. "Parliamentarians with interest in agriculture and seeking to advance their knowledge of agricultural technology, across party lines, responded to the invitation."

On July 29, Environment & Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar overruled the recommendations of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) and put a halt to the field trials of 15 GM crops, including of brinjal and rice, after protests from pro-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) bodies, Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh.

But, the Monsanto spokesperson said, the trip bore no relation to the ruling party's decision to put GM crop trials on hold. The 'Farm Progress Show' is a three-day event that has been held in Iowa since 1953 and attracts thousands of farmers and delegates every year.

"The visit is from August 24 to 30. Monsanto has arranged this visit. We will visit their plant to see the latest technology related to the agriculture sector," Prataprao Ganapatrao Jadhav, the Shiv Sena MP from Buldhana, Maharashtra, said in an interview.

His party colleague in the Lok Sabha, Krupal Balaji Tumane, MP from Ramtek in Maharashtra, confirmed he was part of the group. "Apart from Iowa, we are also scheduled to visit Washington," he said. Tumane and Jadhav said others in the group included two MPs from Andhra Pradesh, one each from Gujarat and Rajasthan and four each from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Others in the group, such as BJP MP from Siwan Om Prakash Yadav and the party's Bulandshahr MP, Bhola Singh, were unavailable for comment.

However, BJP MP from Aligarh, Satish Gautam, claimed he had opted out of the visit. Gautam said party president Amit Shah asked all party MPs in Uttar Pradesh to prepare for the by-elections to a dozen Assembly seats in the state. "There will be a by-election to the Noida Assembly seat and I have decided to devote my time to election work," he said. The by-elections are unlikely before mid-October.

Monsanto declined to reveal the size of the delegation but said invites had been sent to "18 to 20 people". MPs were invited on the basis of their interest in the use of technology in agriculture.

When contacted, a senior agriculture ministry official said the ministry was not aware of the MPs' visit to the US. "If it is a private visit organised by a company for individual MPs, they are not required to keep us in the loop. Such visits need the agriculture ministry's approval only in cases where the government is involved," the official explained.

Earlier this month, junior agriculture minister Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said in reply to a Parliament question in the Lok Sabha that the government policy was to allow GM crops after full scientific evaluation of their bio-safety and impact on the environment and on consumers. This is also BJP's stated position, as stated in its election manifesto.


2010 Feb: Then environment minister Jairam Ramesh puts commercial release of Monsanto Bt Brinjal on hold; field test for other varieties and crops continue

2012 May: Supreme Court sets up expert panel to review the issue

Aug: Parliament's standing committee on agriculture demands moratorium on field trials of all GM food crops and a complete policy overhaul

Oct: SC's expert panel suggests a moratorium on GM trials; Centre opposes this, puts its nominee on panel

2013 Mar-Jun: Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee recommends trials for some GM food crops but the then minister Jayanthi Natarajan puts the plan on hold

Jul: SC panel's majority report advises moratorium; govt nominee bats for trials

Aug: Natarajan writes to PMO opposing trials of GM food crops; the then PM and agriculture minister bat for GM

2014 Feb: As environment minister, M Veerappa Moily renews lapsed clearances for food crop varieties

Jul 17: Under Prakash Javadekar GEAC recommends GM trials for 13 food crop varieties

Jul 29: Swadeshi Jagaran Manch and other RSS affiliates object; Javadekar puts final decision on hold

Aug 23: MPs from various parties, including BJP and the Shiv Sena, leave for the US on a Monsanto-funded study tour

PM calls for linking farms to labs
By KA BadarinathJul 29 2014
Tags: News
Urges agriculture scientists to find technology-based solutions to raise output
Prime minister Narendra Modi pushed for self-sufficiency and export of farm products while seeking to raise farm incomes through scientific innovation and linking farms to labs.

Modi asked agriculture scientists to find technology-based solutions to increase productivity in the shortest possible time through judicious use of limited land resources.

He was speaking on the occasion of the foundation day of Indian Council Agriculture Research (ICAR). The prime minister also emphasised on the need to push up the incomes of millions of farmers to make agriculture a viable and profitable preposition.

Modi’s emphasis on higher farm productivity and incomes draw on the government’s priority to boosting agricultural growth and ensuring better living standards for farmers and rural folk, besides tackling inflation and ensuring higher productivity.

In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, Modi had promised to raise farm incomes by at least 50 per cent by removing price-led distortions, scientific intervention and modernising farmland infrastructure.

Modi’s emphasis on agri-productivity and exports come in the wake of India’s tough stand at the recent ministerial conclave at WTO on farm subsidies and stock limits holdings.

India insisted on a solution to the dispute between developed and developing economies on farm subsidies conditional to signing the trade facilitation agreements.

India is not comfortable with 10 per cent subsidy limit on farm products being insisted upon by the developed economies, particularly the United States.

Modi’s push for scientific intervention to raise farm productivity and agricultural incomes also figured prominently at the presidential address by Pranab Mukherjee to the new Lok Sabha.

The government’s maiden budget also talked about making farming profitable and competitive by setting up an agriculture technology infrastructure fund. It also announced setting up two more ICAR type institutes in Assam and Jharkhand.

Several other measures, including the setting up of two new agriculture universities, two horticulture universities, the campaign to gauge soil health and mobile soil testing laboratories were announced, apart from a price stabilisation fund.

“We have to prove two points. One, how can we make farmers capable of feeding the whole country and the world? Second, how can we fill the pockets of our farmers by making agriculture more profitable?” Modi told the ICAR gathering.

He also pointed to the fact that India continues to depend hugely on imports for meeting demand for edible oil and pulses despite being an agrarian economy.

“Even today, production of pulses and oilseeds is a big challenge. There is need to increase production of pulses. The poorest of the poor should also get pulses that have high protein. We need to work in this direction,” he said.

Modi asked ICAR to set clear cut goals for the next 14 years in the run up to its centenary celebrations. He pointed to global concerns on depleting natural resources and challenges posed by climate change. He also proposed the idea of “blue revolution” in fisheries on the lines of green revolution in the farm sector and white revolution in dairying.

He suggested the setting up of radio stations by agriculture colleges and universities to create awareness among farmers. He also talked about the need to address the challenge of taking farm research from 'lab-to-land' by making efforts to convince farmers about the efficacy of new farm techniques in simple ways.

“Food demand is huge and this is an opportunity for us. The biggest challenge before us is how do we take research work from lab to land. Unless this work does not reach the fields, we cannot get results,” he said.

He asked ICAR to digitise database of all agriculture research work in the country during the next four-five years, besides harnessing the potential of Himalayan herbal medicine as China was ahead in this area.

On the impending water crisis, he asked ICAR to explore scientific approach to manage water according to changing weather cycles.

Aug 17 2014 : The Economic Times (Bangalore)
Which Way on GM, PM?
Suman Layak

A government committee may have given genetically modified crops a shot in the arm but the Sangh Parivar allies are in no mood to allow field trials
Bhagwati Prakash Sharma, national co-convenor of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), is a busy man these days. On August 19, he will lead a meeting of national leaders of 35 mass or ganizations in Delhi, including farmers, traders and even the BJP's student wing. It's just the beginning. In October, between Dussehra and Diwali, a massive jamboree of over 100 groups will meet in an event styled Swadeshi Sangam. The agenda is wide -from genetically modified (GM) crops to foreign direct investment (FDI) to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Swadeshi Warriors In each of these, the SJM has scored wins since the Narendra Modi government assumed power on May 26. It seems Sharma and the SJM are now moving in quickly to occupy vacant space -vacated by the now defunct National Advisory Council (NAC), which was almost a personal prelature of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. In the past two months, only the SJM has managed to challenge the almost unquestioned authority of Narendra Modi.
Consider the SJM's recent successes: it has been opposing the Doha round of negotiations at the WTO for sometime now, and it took a BJP-led government to block it, precisely on the points SJM has been advocating. FDI in retail has been another pet peeve and minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman has ruled out FDI in mul ti-brand retail. But the real deal was GM crops, something the prime minister ap pears keen to push. SJM has been oppos ing GM crops and their field trials too. “If you want to do trials, they must be inside greenhouses,“ Sharma says.
The Narendra Modi-led government took two steps forward on GM crops in the two months it has been in office. It was forced to take one back after the SJM as well as former BJP ideologue and envi ronmental activist KN Govindacharya raised their hands in protest.
The GM crops issue will test the SJM's will as well as the resolve of this government.
The IB Report Activist organizations like Greenpeace, Vandana Shiva's Navdanya and Suman Sahai's Gene Campaign were named in a report by the Intelligence Bureau. The report's subject line is `Concerted efforts by select foreign-funded NGOs to take down Indian development projects'. The report was leaked soon after the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came into office. It picked on anti-GM crop agitations along with other issues like anti-coal and anti-nuclear movements, and sought to paint these protests as activities controlled by foreign masters that are aiming at slowing down India's growth.
The widely circulated report (ET Magazine also downloaded a copy) instilled some fear, damaged some credibility, but mostly made the Modi government's intentions clear. It wanted to clear impediments coming in the way of its growth agenda.
That was till it faced stiff opposition on GM crops from one of its own. It is not that the SJM has now changed its colours; it has always opposed GM crops. But its pedigree, closeness to the RSS and its mooring in swadeshi philosophy make it a large obstacle on the course adopted by this government on GM crops.
The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) that had not met for almost two years met on July 18 (53 days after the Modi government took over) and cleared three applications for import of GM soyabean oil. It also accepted 13 requests for confined field trials of different GM crops. In the earlier government, Sharad Pawar as agriculture minister was a strong votary of GM seeds in India and had often spoken in favour of Bt cotton. On the other hand, Jairam Ramesh as environment minister had announced a moratorium on the field trials of Bt brinjal in 2010 and his successor Jayanthi Natarajan had refused to sign off requests for field trials that were already approved by the GEAC.
The committee thereafter had stopped meeting. Ramesh had queered the pitch further by mandating that each trial must also get a no-objection from respective state governments. When Veerappa Moily took over as the minister, he started clearing the decks for restarting field trials. In February-March 2014 the GEAC revalidated some of its own clearances issued earlier and Moily okayed them.
The issue is also before the Supreme Court (SC) and there was reason to hurry. Gene Campaign, an organization started by geneticist Suman Sahai, had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in 2004 on this subject.
SC Steps in
Another PIL had been filed later by Aruna Rodrigues and the Supreme Court was hearing the two petitions together -which prayed that the country did not have the wherewithal to deal with the science behind GM crops and field trials should not happen till a proper regulatory mechanism was in place.
The SC had appointed a committee of six experts. Five of them filed a report recommend ing a 10-year moratorium on field trials in September 2012 while the sixth member, RS Paroda (a former director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and a bureaucrat with a long history in government), filed a dissenting report later. The apex court sought the government's response in April 2014.
Sahai told ET Magazine: “We have now moved an application with the Supreme Court asking it to accept the report of the five members of the expert committee that proposed a 10-year moratorium.“
Sahai says the BJP election manifesto itself was very cautious. It said: “GM foods will not be allowed without full scientific evaluation on the long-term effects on soil production and biological impact on consumers.“ The new agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh had said after taking over that GM crops will be allowed “only if essential“.
Genetically Modi-fied?
“You have to ask, who is pushing it,“ says Sahai, clearly hinting that it is the prime minister who is firmly in the GM court. One does not need to look far for confirmations. The agricul tural group of the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE AG) comprises compa nies that want to produce and market GM seeds in India. Its chairman Ram Kaundinya was in Ahmedabad last week to speak to the students of the IIM there on biotechnology and GM crops. Kaundinya says: “Gujarat was one of the states that ap proved most field trials of GM crops and backed Bt cotton very strongly and we had strong hopes after this government took over.“
ABLE was started by Biocon cofounder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw for biotech companies and when the agricultural products companies joined up they created the AG within it.
ABLE AG has among its members MNCs like Monsanto, Bayer, BASF, Dow, Advanta and DuPont as well as Indian companies like Mahyco, Rasi Seeds and Shriram Bioseeds. In the wake of the GEAC's approval for field trials of 15 GM crops, Govindacharya tweeted that it was “an anti-national decision“. And when environment minister Prakash Javdekar promptly countered that the GEAC approval did not mean a government approval and then later told the SJM members that the approvals have been put on hold, the seed makers were disappointed. The debate on GM crops can go on.
Both sides claim science is on their side.
Kaundinya says: “Gujarat has seen an almost 10-fold increase in production of cotton after it adopted Bt cotton. The results are there for all to see. If you stop trials now you will stop research.“ Apart from cotton and brinjal, the industry is also working on maize, canola, rice, wheat, potatoes, cauliflowers and some other vegetables.
Sides Face-off
SJM has major issues on the need for farmers to buy seeds every year. Kaundinya tried to allay fears over seeds. Hybrid seeds have to be bought every year and GM hybrid seeds are no different. On the other hand normal seeds known as `varieties' do not need to be procured every year, and GM varieties too are one-time purchases for farmers who can then procure their own seeds from their harvest.
Gene Campaign's Sahai says the GM industry floats two balloons, the science balloon and the hunger balloon. She wishes to puncture both. “What we want is the data,“ she says. “It is simple. We do not trust the companies so we ask them to show us the data.“ She laments that even GEAC meeting minutes are now not being made public. Sahai points out that the Gene Campaign PIL was filed in 2004 only after her RTI application seeking data bore no result.
Sharma of SJM draws attention to a recall in 2000, when over 300 food products were found to contain StarLink corn that had not been approved for human consumption, triggering the first ever recall of GM food. It was approved for animal feed only by the US FDA in 1998, but the corn found its way into products for human consumptions including taco shells of Taco Bell. Traces of StarLink -created by a company called Plant Genetic Systems, which had become Aventis CropScience when the incident took place -were detected as late as August 2013 in Saudi Arabia. Sharma agonizes that soon imported GM soyabean oil will be sold in India and in five years GM rice, wheat and vegetables too will reach the market.
He is ready to throw down the gauntlet on this one. The seedmakers wish Modi will pick it up. For the industry worldwide the biggest markets for GM crops are small farmers. That makes India crucial. If they can win here, much more of the developing world will follow.
Bangladesh dares where India fears to tread
After Jairam Ramesh's moratorium on Bt brinjal announced in 2010, the product travelled to Bangladesh.
The country is now rife with debate on whether it did the right thing and if the crop failed or succeeded. The agriculture minister of Bangladesh has even accused pesticide companies of bribing protesters to file court cases against the product.
The seed was developed by Mahyco, the Indian partner of Monsanto, in which Monsanto owns around 25% share. It was donated to public sector partners in India, Bangladesh and the Philippines. In the Philippines too courts have stopped use of Bt brinjal.
In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Agricul tural Research Institute aided by Cornell University and USAID have developed the seed and around 20 farmers across the country have cultivated the brinjals.
Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign claimed that Bt brinjal has failed in Bangaldesh. On the other hand Mahyco and the International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech and Applications (ISAAA) provided ET Magazine with a CD and a 40-page book documenting the success of the crop.
A June 5 report in UK newspaper The Guardian that claimed to have interviewed 19 out of the 20 farmers who cultivated Bt brinjal said the results were largely mixed, with neighbouring farms in Jamalpur (124 km from Dhaka) showing very different results.
While no clear view can emerge, what is becoming clear again is the markets of South and Southeast Asia remain crucial for the GM crops industry.

Seeds of Doubt
The New Yorker-by Michael Specter-15-Aug-2014
Shiva's fiery opposition to globalization and to the use of genetically modified crops has made her a hero to anti-G.M.O. activists everywhere.
Groose: Genetically engineered crops: Good for Wyoming, safe for you
Casper Star-Tribune Online-41 minutes ago
Everything you eat has been “genetically modified” via evolution, domestication, and breeding. That includes “heirloom” grains, fruits, ...
Biologist: Concerns about modified plants common, but unfounded
Tribune-Review-15 hours ago
The genetic material (DNA) used to modify a food crop in GMO technology can incorporate into our DNA when we eat GMOs.
Letter: Measure P would impose a mighty cost
Times-Standard-11 hours ago
Explore in depth (4 more articles)
How GMO crops conquered the United States
The US Department of Agriculture recently posted new data on how geneticallymodified crops have taken over American farms in the past ...

First GM crops enriched with nutrients ready for harvest
The first genetically modified crops, enriched with nutrients to improve health, will be harvested within weeks following a landmark field trial in ...
First GM plants to produce omega-3 oil almost ready for harvest ...
Daily Mail-06-Aug-2014
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Why we don't need genetically modified crops in India
Deccan Chronicle-09-Aug-2014
Genetically Modified (GM) plants have created rigorous debates not only in India, but worldwide. GM Crops are a new living organism and the ...
Protests not against technology, but monopoly
The Asian Age-09-Aug-2014
Explore in depth (6 more articles)
Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by ...
Voice of America-25-Jul-2014
A new report states that genetically-modified crops -- also known as GM crops -- would dramatically improve agriculture in Africa. The report ...
Nnimmo Bassey: GM promoters promote poverty and dependency in ...
DailyPost Nigeria-25-Jul-2014
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India puts GM crop trials on hold
The Guardian (blog)-31-Jul-2014
The battle over testing of genetically modified crops in India took a new turn this week with the Bharatiya Janata party-led government putting ...
Why the RSS pressure on GM crops is good for India
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Government drops enough hint to allow confined field trials of GM ...
Times of India-by Vishwa Mohan-06-Aug-2014Share
NEW DELHI: A day after allaying members' concerns overgenetically modified crops in Parliament, the government on Wednesday dropped ...
Proper caution needed for GM crops: Javadekar
The Hindu-06-Aug-2014
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