New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked for a new report and scheduled a fresh hearing in six weeks on a petition seeking a nationwide ban on field tests on genetically modified (GM) food crops, according to three people familiar with the court proceedings.
Mint couldn’t independently confirm this.
On 18 October, an advisory panel of experts constituted by the Supreme Court to dwell on the merits of allowing GM crop trials said in an interim report that tests were needed for at least 10 years more, and that a fresh set of conditions to evaluate their safety was necessary.
“It is a small reprieve,” said a government official privy to the proceedings and who didn’t want to be identified, “and we also have an extra member in the evaluation committee, R.S. Paroda, who was a former director general in the agriculture ministry.”
As of now, the only genetically modified crop permissible in fields is Bt cotton. On the back of its success, several companies have rushed to develop GM food varieties that will potentially provide a range of plant-benefiting traits such as pest resistance and drought tolerance.