BioVoice News October 2016 Issue 6 Volume 1 - Page 28

agri bio any insecticide that will kill honeybees visiting its flowers, nor enhances use of sprayable insecticides. On the contrary, GM mustard with its hybrid vigor will help in increasing more visits of honey bees and consequently of their population. It is this simple logic that we all know and this Confederation needs to learn”, said Dr Govind Gujar, Ex-Head, Division of Entomology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. Opposition based on swadeshi sentiments misplaced The Swadeshi Jagran Manch that is the part of the current government’s ideological fountainhead, Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh has fiercely opposed any green signal to the GM Mustard. Recently it had invited the anti-GM scientist such as Dr Gilles-Eric Seralini along with various other critics on a single platform to oppose the technology. The move backfired due to the allegations on the past background of the scientist who was specifically invited to talk on GM Mustard developed in India. “This move is to misguide general public in India,” mentioned the South Asia Biotechnology Centre, “Some groups fundamentally opposed to genetic modification technologies, breaking their ideological differences (both left and right wings), seemed to have found a common ground to oppose this indigenous scientific endeavor, relying heavily on an imported anti-GM scientist such as Gilles-Eric Seralini, a controversial French scientist, to misguide the general public in India.” “It is grossly unethical for Dr Seralini to have accepted the 28 BioVoiceNews | October 2016 “ It is grossly unethical for Dr Seralini to have accepted the invitation from SJM to visit India and criticize the internal domestic matter related to indigenous scientific endeavor. It is ironic that SJM is relying on a controversial videshi scientist known for his anti-biotech crusade to derail a “Make-inIndia” product developed by Delhi University. SJM is utterly confused with their core mission and agricultural agenda Dr C D Mayee, President, SABC invitation from SJM to visit India and criticize the internal domestic matter related to indigenous scientific endeavor. It is ironic that SJM is relying on a controversial videshi scientist known for his anti-biotech crusade to derail a “Make-inIndia” product developed by Delhi University. SJM is utterly confused with their core mission and agricultural agenda” alluded Dr C D Mayee, the President of the SABC. Echoing above sentiments, Prof Marc Van Montagu, a world renowned Belgian scientist credited with the discovery of recombinant DNA technology and the recipient of the World Food Prize in 2013 stated “it is a disgrace for science and humanity and a deep shame that Dr Seralini still makes such statements after his publications on tumors in rats was retracted. The GM technology is safe and used in Canola (Canadian mustard) in Canada since more than 20 years.” It is worth noting that the French Gilles-Eric Seralini and New Zealand’s Lou Gallagher had a major misadventure in influencing government’s decision on Bt brinjal in 2010. Then, Seralini and Gallagher aligned with Greenpeace and anti-GM lobbyists, to successfully brand Bt brinjal “unsafe” resulting in the moratorium on Bt brinjal imposed in Feb 2010. Notably, Bt brinjal is successfully grown by farmers and eaten by consumers in Bangladesh since 2014. While the scientific experts vouch for GM Mustard pointing towards need to provide farmers with a facilitating environment, the top ministers in the previous governments as well as the current dispensation too have reiterated the need for modern technologies to improve their crop productivity in the larger interest of the Indian economy. The internal brainstorming by top policymakers has highlighted GM as one of the pillars to support the goal set by Mr Narendra Modi to double their income by 2022. The scientific reasoning on Bt Cotton couldn’t weigh much on the then environment minister’s decision despite the former Prime Minister’s favorable statements. However, the mood seems to be different this time. The presence of a decisive Prime Minister who has time again praised modern technologies, has bolstered the GM Mustard’s chances. Unless of course the politics takes over.