Genetically modified crops: Prakash Javadekar emphasises proper caution

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 7 2014, 08:48am hrs
Amid a row over field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops in the country, Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday emphasised on proper caution but said nobody can say no to science.

"Yesterday, somebody asked me about the field trials of GM crops. I have said we are not saying no to science. Nobody can say no to science. We have to take proper caution. We have to take proper action. But you cannot deny, we are not living in Galileos times," the minister said at a meet on IPCC AR5: What it means for stronger, more inclusive India in the Capital.

The environment ministry is yet to give approval for field trials of certain varieties of GM crops.

The ministry, however, had stated that the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has recommended certain cases for field trials.

The statutory body had permitted confined field trials of 13 GM crops, including rice, brinjal, chickpea, mustard and cotton, out of the 15 cases it considered.

However, the field trials, or small scale experiments, on these crops were subject to a no-objection certificate from state governments.

Sangh outfits have opposed field trials of GM crops. Batting for cleaner fuel, Javadekar said he had urged the government to increase the norms on diesel emission while noting that the number of vehicles on roads double every 10 years.

Earlier addressing the gathering, IPCC chairman RK Pachauri said IPCC has completed three working group reports as part of the fifth assessment cycle.

He said there was a pestering need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases particularly carbon dioxide at the earliest for limiting the temperature increase by two degree Celsius.

"If we follow the 'do nothing' scenario, move along business as usual, then we could see temperature increase as high as 4.8 degrees Celsius, which would be disastrous," he said.