This study investigates the issues related to the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) crops and examines the regulatory framework for GM crops development and commercialisation in India. It explores the positioning of various organisations and stakeholders that have directly or indirectly influenced this technology and delineates their roles in the technological governance system. The findings of this study show that institutions promoting research and innovation are not appropriately linked with the institutions for its governance and regulation in India. As a result, even after extensive debate and creation of new institutions, there is a persisting situation of antagonism and low public trust in GM technology as a viable solution for India’s agricultural problems. This has impeded the innovation and translation process despite successful field trials of many indigenous GM crop. Further, it underlines that individual and group concerns regarding the environmental, health and economic viability of GM crops as technological intervention can be addressed by promoting it as an alternative in specific conditions only. In conclusion, a group of interventions such as the development of a system to encourage innovation, capacity building and investment in alternate technologies is suggested to equip for the ever-increasing demand of agricultural products in the future.
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‘Additionality is the property of an activity being additional. It is a determination of whether an intervention has an effect, when the intervention is compared to a baseline. ‘Interventions’ can take a variety of forms, but often include economic incentives.’ (for more detailed description see- A practical guide to adding value through non-financial support, 2015 EVPA).
Bio-Safety:When Genetic modification of organisms are introduced into the ecosystem they can have unpredictable results. The products of such food crops may be unsafe for consumption by human and animals. In addition to this, they may also harm the soil bacteria, bees and other important organisms, thereby affecting entire food web and biodiversity. GM crop may eliminate the wild/indigenous species by cross-pollination. (for detailed description, see—Conner et al. 2003. The release of genetically modified crops into the environment, The Plant Journal 33(1), pp 19–46.)
Bio-piracy: It is a concept similar to piracy in software, movies and other intellectual properties. When corporations use the genetic materials well known to farmers and indigenous people without sharing the benefits or paying a compensation for the genetic material it is termed as bio-piracy. Many people believe that GM technology in agriculture is ‘bio-piracy’ because of unfair patenting and patent licensing by MNCs (see Roberts R. 2000, Biopiracy: Who Owns the Genes of the Developing World?, Science Wire).
Bio-profiteering: MNCs introduce terminator gene in their GM seeds. This makes the resultant plant sterile, thereby requiring farmers to repurchase seeds for every cropping season. Since GM crops will make wild/indigenous varieties extinct by cross-pollination, so farmer will be at the mercy of these MNCs for the future seeds.