The Centre today said it has not yet given approval to GM mustard for commercial cultivation and asserted that biotechnology regulator GEAC will seek public comments on bio-safety data prepared by its sub-committee.
No final decision has been taken on approval to GM mustard, the environment ministry said in a statement.
“No final decision has been taken as yet on the issue. The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) in a meeting held on August 11, 2016, examined the ‘safety document’ prepared by its sub-committee,” it added.
“GEAC has appraised the ‘safety document’… and the safety document will be put up on the website of GEAC inviting comments from the public.”
After the public consultation, GEAC will finalise its recommendations to the environment ministry, which will take a final decision on this important matter.
GEAC had set up a sub-committee to assess risk factors associated with a new variety of genetically modified (GM) mustard developed by the Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants.
At present, Bt cotton is the only GM crop allowed for commercial cultivation in the country. The UPA government had put moratorium on commercialisation of Bt brinjal amid protest from green activists.
If the government clears GM mustard, it would be the first GM food crop in India.
Last month, anti-GM activists had vowed to step up their resistance to GM mustard and demanded fixing liability on crop developers for providing “false” evidence to the country’s biotech regulator.