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No relaxation by GEAC for field trials of GM crops: Govt

Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said that in case of conduct of Confined Field Trials (CFT), the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has not given any relaxation in requirement of obtaining NOC from state governments

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India’s biotechnology regulator Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has not given any relaxation in the requirement of obtaining a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from state government.

The biotech regulator has, however, decided to relax the requirement of No-Objection Certificate from state governments for conducting Event Selection Trial (EST) which are small scale experiments conducted “strictly” inside an institute’s premises.

In a written reply in Parliament on Tuesday, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave clarified that in case of conduct of Confined Field Trials (CFT), the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has not given any relaxation in requirement of obtaining NOC from state governments.

The minister was asked whether GEAC has relaxed certain provisions to be adhered to by the applicants seeking NOC from states for conducting field trials on Genetically Modified (GM) crops.

“GEAC has not given any relaxation in requirement of obtaining NOC from state governments for conduct of CFTs. However GEAC in its 130th meeting held on August 11, 2016 took a decision for relaxation of requirement of NOC from state governments for conduct of ESTs which are small scale experiments conducted strictly within the premises of the institutes,” Dave said.

He said GEAC in its 129th meeting held in June last year decided that a decision regarding NOC is to be communicated to applicant within 90 days from the date of receipt of application and if in the meantime, state government does not take any appropriate action, the decision is to be considered positive by the applicant.

“Biosafety Research Level (BRL) I and II trials are essentially permitted and conducted wither in State Agricultural Universities (SAU) or their regional agricultural research stations or within the premises of concerned Indian Council of Agricultural Institutes (ICAR) or applicants own premises.

“All confined field trials are strictly monitored by a duly constituted Central Compliance Committee (CCC) having representatives from Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM)/GEAC, state department of agriculture, Director of Research of concerned SAUs and other subject matter experts based on the trait selected for the field trial experiment,” he said.

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