BHUBANESWAR: The states would have full powers to decide on commercialisation of genetically-modified (GM) products in their region even as state governments have expressed fears of losing the rights over agriculture and other resources under the proposed Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI).
The National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill was tabled in Parliament in July last year. The Authority will address the fears and concerns over safety, efficacy and commercialisation of biotechnology (BT) products, which have been at the centre of big controversies and opposition in the public sphere, advisor to Department of Biotechnology, Dr SR Rao said on the sidelines of the 99th Indian Science Congress here on Friday.
The Authority will be governed under stringent systems for ensuring safety and efficacy and there will be complete clarity, transparency and consistency in its operations. The commercialisation of biotech products in agriculture and other sectors will be under states’ laws and there would be no interference by the Authority in these matters, he said.
“We can cut off BT products at our own peril as they are the future. But every step to safeguard safety and rights issues would be taken under the BRAI which will have layered constitution to cut out risks,” he said.
The structure of BRAI is very comprehensive with an Inter-Ministerial Governing Body to manage the issues of BT products wile a Products Ruling Committee, a Risk Assessment Unit and a National Biotech Advisory Council will act as nodal agencies to ensure comprehensive safety assessment of organisations and products of modern biotechnology. A Biotech Regulatory Appellate Tribunal would also be set up to deal with conflicts and litigations concerning BT products and to put checks and balances in the system.
Coming down heavily on the public opposition to introduction of GM food crops like Bt Brinjal in the country, Dr Rao said it was ill-advised and without scientific basis. “Public can be consulted on effects of science not on processes of science,”, he said.