NEW DELHI: Even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on his US tour, an RSS affiliated body -- the Vijnana Bharati -- had asked him not to invite any investment in the field of genetic engineering technology.
Sangh bodies had deterred the Centre when it hinted that it would allow field trials of genetically modified crops and seeds.
Earlier, the Swadesi Jagran Manch and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh had asked Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar not to allow field trials of GM crops.
The Vijnana Bharati, which boasts of being the largest scientific body in the country, stepped up pressure by appealing to the Prime Minister not to sign any agreement during his US visit. Modi had last week unveiled the ‘Make in India’ campaign that invited investments in the biotechnology sector.
“Hybrid seeds, including GM seeds, represent new business opportunities in India based on yield improvement,” the website promoting the campaign said. Alarmed by the government’s interest in opening the sector to foreign corporates, Vijnana Bharati wrote an open letter to the PM about the possible consequences of the venture.
“The PM has already mentioned that he will seek investments in the Biotechnology sector during his visit to the US. While investments in other fields of the sector may be desirable, investments in genetic Engineering for producing seeds should be strictly avoided due to certain critical factors,” the letter said.
The Sangh body said that genetic engineering technologies “go hand in hand with royalties”.
The monopoly of Monsanto in Maharashtra has led to serious debts resulting in farmer suicides.
The letter further warned, “Experience in the US with herbicide resistant GMO seeds has led to the emergence of super weeds, which has gone beyond human control. As the technical expert committee appointed by the Supreme Court has rightly recommended, there is no place for herbicide tolerant GMO crops in the small farms of India.”