New Delhi (ISJ): Sam Pitroda, Adviser to Prime Minister and Chairman of National Innovation Council has advised Indian political leaders to evolve an 'understanding of science and future'. He said the current opposition to genetically modified crops (GM Crops) is a 'false debate and fear of something'. Pitroda was commenting on opposition to GM Crops by a section of the political leadership in India.
He was talking on the sideline of a function to unveil University Innovation Clusters, an initiative to promote innovation at university level.
Opinion has been sharply divided in India on introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops. A Technical Expert Committee (TEC) set up by the Supreme Court of India following a public interest petition on the environmental release of GM organisms recommended against allowing GM crops in India.
There is lack of consensus within the Indian government, with then Environment Minister Jayanti Natarajan opposing introduction of GM crops, while Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar favouring it, saying it would help address food security issues. In 2009, Natarajan's predecessor Jayaram Ramesh had placed a moratorium on the release of Bt Brinjal following widespread protests by farmers.
The present Environment Minister Veerappa Moily is yet to take a stand on the issue. India, as on date, only allowed cultivation of BT cotton on a commercial scale.
A Parliamentary Committee had also opposed introduction of GM crops. In its report presented to Parliament on August 09, 2012, the Standing Committee on Agriculture headed by CPIM leader Basudeb Acharya said, "?since concerns on the potential and actual impacts of GM crops to our food, farming, health and environment are valid, GM crops are just not the right solution for our country."
Nobel Laureate Cell Biologist Sir Paul Nurse had also termed as "irresponsible", campaign against GM foods. During a recent visit to India, Sir Nurse had criticised political opposition for GM Crops.
"This is anti-science and what we need is political leadership and we don't want cowardly