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What are GM crops?
  • Genetically modified crops (GM crops) are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering methods.

  • Plant genomes can be engineered by physical methods or by use of Agrobacterium for the delivery of sequences hosted in T-DNA binary vectors.

  • In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species. 

  • Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, resistance to chemical treatments or improving the nutrient profile of the crop.

GM crops in India

  • India has approved the commercial cultivation of only one GM crop, Bt cotton.

  • Many have been alarmed by the experience with Bt cotton.

  • Long-term research suggests that Bt cotton has provided only fleeting benefits to farmers, while enormously increasing their costs of cultivation and risk.

  • On the other hand, some seed companies have profited handsomely from the expensive GM seeds.

  • Two Standing Committees of the Parliament (2012 and 2017) independently and comprehensively examined GM crops and food. 

  • The Supreme Court also appointed a Technical Expert Committee (TEC).

Findings of various reports

  • The two Standing Committees of the Parliament unanimously highlighted major weaknesses in the regulatory system, and called for utmost caution before releasing GM food.

  • The committee (2017) made a specific reference to GM mustard, and asked the government to conduct a thorough, independent, and transparent assessment of long-term biosafety, environmental risk and socio-economic impacts.

  • Five of the six TEC members also pointed to grave deficiencies in the safety assessment of GM crops in their report.

  • TEC found herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops “completely unsuitable in the Indian context” and warned of serious harm to the environment, rural livelihoods and sustainable agriculture if they were released.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: GM Crops UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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