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US patent of GM seeds not applicable in India

GM Seeds in India

GM Seeds in India

• Recently, the Delhi High Court, in a judgment on Genetically Modified-GM Seed, said that American company Monsanto, which provides GM seeds of cotton, does not have the right to collect a royalty on its seeds in India.

• The Court rejected the US-based company Monsanto's petition to apply patents to Bt cotton seeds in India, saying that seeds in India are not covered by patents and that US patent laws do not apply in India.

• The Court granted the claims of three Indian seed companies stating that Monsanto Company does not have a patent in India for Bt cotton seeds.

• The court asked Monsanto to apply for the rights of the breeder under Indian laws.

• Prohibition of single judge verdict: Court granted relief to three Indian companies Nuzividu Seeds Limited, Prabhat Agri Biotech Limited and Amplification Seeds Private Limited to Monsanto on the issue of fees payable under sub-license from these three companies as well as single judge The verdict stayed. It should be noted that the single judge ordered these three Indian companies to pay special fees to Monsanto as per the government fixed rates. In fact, the Monsanto company was seeking to charge a higher rate of special fees under sub-licenses from Indian companies for the use of its seed technology. Indian companies challenged the rejection of their a claim by the single judge that US-based agricultural company Monsanto had unfairly granted patents for seeds of Bt cotton.

What is GM technology?

For this, new genes are introduced into plants with the help of tissue culture, mutation and new microorganisms. In such a very common process, the plant is activated by a microorganism called Agrobacterium tumefaciens.
It is done. DNA is introduced into the plant by activating this microorganism with a specific gene called T-DNA (Transfer-DNA). The T-DNA of this Agrobacterium tumefaciens is carefully replaced by the desired gene, which is an insect repellent. Thus by changing the genome of the plant, a continuous crop of desired properties is obtained.

What is GM crop?

• Through genetic engineering, a new crop species is developed by adding the genes of any organism or plant to other plants.

• GM crops are those crops whose genes are transformed scientifically.

• It was first used in the tobacco plant in 1982, while it was the first field-tested in 1986 in France and the United States.

• Changes in the genes of GM crops through biotechnology and bio-engineering.

• In this process, the new gene ie DNA is added to the plant and it contains the desired properties which are not naturally present in that plant.

• Plants prepared through this technique are more resistant to pests, environmental conditions like drought and diseases.

• Generated crops can increase production capacity and nutrient capacity.

Benefits of GM seeds

• GM seed i.e. crop seed made artificially. Proponents of GM crops believe that this seed provides far more productivity than ordinary seeds.

• This will remove many problems in the the agricultural sector and will improve the level of crop production.

• GM crops are anti-drought and anti-flood and are also pest resistant.

• The speciality of GM crops is that they are more fertile and do not require more pesticides.

Loss of GM seeds  

• There are many reasons to oppose these crops in India…
• GM crops cost more because new seeds have to be purchased every time.

• Due to monopoly of big multinational companies, farmers have to buy expensive seeds and pesticides from them.

• Hybrid seeds are currently under-emphasis, and most hybrid seeds, whether GM or not, are not reusable either; And even if it happens, their performance after the first time is not very good.

• It is considered harmful for health, environment and biodiversity.
• Those who oppose this technology in India say that there is so much bio-diversity in agriculture in our country, which will end with the adoption of GM technology.

• Apart from this, those who oppose it say that GM food can have an impact on human health. One is by eating it, the other through the milk and meat of the animals that are grown on GM feed.

• Only Bt cotton crop is allowed in India. The Parliament's Standing Committee on Agriculture last year, in its 37th report titled 'Cultivation of Genetically Modified Food Crop - Prospects and Impacts', stated that the commercial cotton cultivation of Bt cotton was effected by the Parliament. The economic condition of the productive farmers deteriorated rather than improved. Pesticides had to be used more in Bt cotton.

What is GM crop

American Company Monsanto

• American company Monsanto sells genetically modified seeds. The company had sold GM seeds to cotton farmers claiming that the use of these seeds would not cause diseases in their crop and the crop would be good. Significantly, last year several Indian seed companies had settled with Monsanto in the Intellectual Property Rights-IPR case against Monsanto, but the above three companies did not do so.

Monsanto side 

Earlier in March this year, the government had reduced the royalty paid to the company for GM cotton seeds for the second time in the last two years. The government cut royalties paid by domestic seed companies to Monsanto by another 20.4%. For the first time in 2016, when the government cut royalty by 70%, Monsanto threatened to leave India. On the second cut, Monsanto said that royalties paid by domestic seed companies are only 0.5% of the total crop cost, while our technology is increasing the income of farmers.

• Now commenting on this decision of the court, Monsanto said that this will affect biotechnology-based innovation in every field in India. This decision is also against the international markets where innovation activities in the agricultural sector have flourished. It is noteworthy that at present, more than 90% of the total cotton production of the country is genetically enhanced ie GM.
What is Genetic Engineering Evaluation Committee?
• Its task is to look into the environmentally approved cases of large-scale use of hazardous microorganisms and fragments of the genetic material in research and industrial production.

• This field is also responsible for the approval of proposals to release genetically cultured organisms and products into the environment including testing experiments.

• Its function is to approve the use of genetically modified micro-organisms and products in agriculture.

• The Genetic Engineering Evaluation Committee under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate is India's highest regulator for genetically modified seeds.

artificial agriculture

Monopoly claim on development of GM seeds

• Monsanto applied in 2007 to bring the next generation of genetically modified cotton seeds to India, but withdrew it after the the government imposed strict conditions.

• Be aware that India is the largest market for Monsanto after the US and this American company sells seeds with the help of its Indian partner Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds.

• The Government of India asked Monsanto to share technology with local seed companies before allowing them to sell the next generation of genetically modified seeds. Monsanto then withdrew the application citing India's 'business uncertainty and regulatory environment' as he said it would cause a huge loss.

• For the first time in 2002, India allowed Monsanto to sell genetically modified cotton seed Bolgard-1 in the country. In 2006, it was allowed to sell Bolgard-2, with the help of which India's cotton exports increased fourfold.

• with time, the Bolgard-2 seed proved to be useless and failed to withstand the insect called Bollworm.

• Procurement of genetically modified seeds proved costly and useless for the economic condition of the small farmers and followed by suicide cases of thousands of farmers in Maharashtra.

• Despite this, 41 million packets of genetically modified cotton seeds were sold in India in 2015 and Monsanto received a royalty of $ 97 million from this sale.

Development of indigenous varieties in response to Monsanto

• To challenge the Bolgard-2 variety of Monsanto, new indigenous varieties of cotton are being prepared after eight years of research in the country.

• The cost of these high yielding seeds will be reduced and the crop produced from them will not be affected by diseases and germs like whitefly, pink bollworm and leaf curl virus.

• Indigenous varieties have a high immunity against whitefly and are not affected by cotton leaf curl virus which is a major problem in North India including Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. In these areas, cotton is cultivated in more than 1.5 million hectares.

• New indigenous varieties of cotton and American varieties produced in short duration have been tested at 15 centres in different agro-eco zones and have been found suitable for sowing.

• The production cost from Bt cotton hybrid is currently Rs 30,000 to 35,000 per hectare. The use of these indigenous varieties will reduce this cost by half and yield per hectare will be more or less the same as Bt cotton hybrid.

• The yield per hectare of Bt cotton hybrid is 20-25 quintals. The fibre quality of cotton obtained from these varieties will be similar to that of Bt cotton hybrid and the price of their seeds will not be more than Rs 200-250 kg. Bt cotton seeds are sold at prices up to 200 times higher.

• It is worth mentioning that till now only long-term hybrid varieties were being used in the country, which takes 210–240 days to harvest. They were not suitable for 50 to 60% of the cotton sown area, which is predominantly rain-dependent area. That is why the global approach of intensive sowing using varieties prepared in 150-160 days was adopted.

global situation including India in agriculture

What is the global situation including India

• In India only Bt cotton is approved by the government, this technology was introduced in India in 1996 and in 2002 Bt cotton crop was approved. Since then Bt cotton is the only GM crop grown in the country. Under this, the cotton crop is grown in 11.6 million hectare area in 10 states of the country. Today, India accounts for 26% of the total cotton production in the world and accounts for about 90% of the total cotton production. The average production per hectare in the country is about 510 kg. , While the global average is 700 kg. More than.

• Corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, beet, papaya, potatoes in the United States; Canola, soybean, beet in Canada; Cotton, Papaya and Poplar in China; Soybeans, corn, cotton in Argentina; GM cultivation of soybeans, maize, cotton and brinjal is officially done in Brazil. There are some other countries including Africa which cultivate GM only of maize and cotton.

• Nineteen countries in the European Union, including France and Germany, have a complete ban on GM farming. In EU countries, it is necessary to mention on imported food items from abroad whether it is GM or normal, whereas in the US it is not mandatory to do so.

• Also in 2014, scientists at the University of Göttingen, Germany, based on their agricultural surveys conducted throughout the world concluded that GM technology increases crop yields by 22%, reduces pesticides by 37% and reduces farmers The income increases by 68% and this technology is more beneficial for developing countries than in developed countries.

According to the United Nations, by 2050, 70% more food will be needed to feed the world population than today. Therefore, to increase yields, new experiments in agriculture have to be given importance. This is even more important for a country like India because by then it would have become the most populous country in the world. Agriculturalist of India M.S. Swaminathan has said that even if this technology (GM) is adopted, special areas related to it can be kept separate from this technology to preserve biodiversity in agriculture.

What is BT?

• Bacillus Thuringiensis-BT is a bacterium that naturally produces crystal proteins. This protein is harmful to insects. Bt crops have been named after it. Bt crops are crops that produce the same toxin as a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis to protect the crop from pests.
Conclusion: GM technology is just one aspect of engineering that changes genes. Renowned agricultural scientist MS, the father of the Green Revolution that took place four decades ago. Swaminathan says that it is possible to achieve all the desired results by increasing the ability of plants to tolerate changes in humidity and temperature due to climate change, nourishing the people and animals who use them ... and not necessarily All these qualities can be acquired only from hybrid breeds, but they cannot be achieved even by conventional methods. This is where the need for DNA technology is realized, through which the desired results can be achieved by bringing about the necessary changes in the gene.

• Currently, trials are underway on GM farming of rice, maize, mustard, brinjal, Kabuli chana and cotton in some states of India. However, before any type of GM crop is approved, extensive research and the study needs to be done by an independent scientific institution to make it safe for consumers, beneficial to farmers and environment friendly.

• Approval of GM crops in the country can be given only after evaluation of their socio-economic impact. There is still doubt about GM crops. Its sides and opposition have their own valid arguments, so the government will have to take a serious decision on this issue without hurrying. The government should also study the cultivation of GM crops and its various side-effects in countries around the world before approving any type of GM commercial crop.

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