सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

High hopes from judiciary to check onslaught of GM food crops in India

By Bharat Dogra 

Since mid-October there has been widespread concern regarding hurried introduction of GM (genetically modified) food crops in India due to the approval of a GM/HT (herbicide tolerant) mustard crop by a regulating agency. Hence there was a feeling of great relief on November 3 when the Supreme Court of India asked the government to maintain the status quo and not to take any further precipitate action.
Such a decision was particularly welcome as the highly resourceful GM lobby had immediately gone on an overdrive of self-promotion soon after the unfortunate decision of the regulating agency, which has faced allegations of bias in the past. The effort of the lobbyists was to present the release of GM Mustard as a fait accompli, a highly undemocratic move which ignores the country’s parliament/parliamentary committees, the state governments and the higher judiciary, all of whom have played an important role in checking the big business driven moves on GM crops, with the Supreme Court specifically asking for any change in the government stand to be placed before it.
So it was good that the eminent public-interest lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Aruna Rodrigues, widely reputed for her long and courageous legal battle in the Supreme Court of India against GM crops, placed some important facts before the court, including those which recall significant aspects of the long, so far successful, struggle in India to keep away GM food crops in general and GM mustard in particular. Among other things, he quoted from the report of a Technical Experts Committee (TEC) which had firmly opposed the introduction of GM/HT Mustard in India after examining all aspects.
A question bothering many people is--When this issue had been examined in detail and settled only recently, then why has the GM lobby been so over-eager to restart the entire process of somehow pushing in GM Mustard, thereby opening the doors for other GM food crops as well in India. In fact such questions have been strongly raised even by the Swadeshi Jagran Manch and the RSS farmers’ wing, organizations which are known to be friendly to the union government on most issues, as they realize the irreversibility of the serious harm that will be caused to farming and food system by GM crops.
Some observations of TEC which were recalled by Prashant Bhushan in his court submission recently are —
“The conclusion of TEC is that HT crops would most likely exert a highly adverse impact over time on sustainable agriculture, rural livelihoods and the environment. The TEC finds them completely unsuitable in the Indian context.” (Page 71 of TEC)
In the case of HT crops, “the evidence of harm is significant. ‘Roundup’ (name of a highly controversial herbicide) is also a potent carcinogen, it causes mammary cancers in rats which are equivalent to breast cancers in humans.”
“Having examined the issue of HT crops in the detail required to arrive at a decision, the TEC recommends a complete ban on HT crops.” (Page 93).
These are very firm statements, not leaving room for doubt. If we look at the larger context of the more extensive worldwide campaign against GM crops, again any careful and discerning review would show that the evidence against GM crops is overwhelming. Although the highly resourceful GM lobby has endlessly tried to create confusion by citing only corporate interest oriented research, it is of course possible to distinguish fact from myth, truth from falsehoods.
In fact the Supreme Court of India and special observers/advisers selected by it have also contributed much to facilitating this process of establishing truth. Among these advisers was the eminent scientist, the late Prof. Pushpa M. Bhargava, Founder of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the topmost expert on this subject in India with a great reputation for protecting public interest, who emphasized that there are over 500 research publications by scientists of indisputable integrity, that establish harmful impacts of GM crops on human, animal and plant health and on environment and biodiversity. As for the papers which support GM crops, Prof. Bhargava informed on the basis of his detailed study over several decades, that virtually all of them are by scientists who “ have a declared conflict of interest or whose credibility and integrity can be doubted.” Further, Prof. Bhargava has clearly recorded that it is the giant multinational companies trying to dominate the farming and food system who are the main force behind the spread of these crops. He also stated, giving examples, that widespread corrupt practices have been adopted in the course of these high-power efforts.
Prof. Bhargava had special words of timely warning for his own dear country and its farmers. He stated very clearly that the real aim of this attempt in India is to obtain control over Indian agriculture and thus food production. “With 60% of our population engaged in agriculture and living in villages, this would essentially mean not only a control over our food security but also over our farmer security, agricultural security and security of the rural sector.”
Ignoring very serious adverse implications of introducing GM food crops is fraught with very heavy irreversible risks for health of food consumers or all people (all the more so in the case of mustard which is used in so many food preparations on daily basis), for environment ( genetic contamination is irreversible) and for farmers’ livelihoods. Even farmers firmly opposed to GM crops with all their instability and hazards have genetic contamination thrust on them when a decision to introduce GM crops is taken. As many studies have shown ( in India, USA and elsewhere), the propaganda of high yield increases related to GM crops has proved to be false, and in addition farmers have been burdened with expensive seeds and expensive as well as hazardous agro-chemicals. Many details of these basic concerns have been highlighted in the context of India by organizations like gmfree India and ASHA Kisanswaraj in recent years. Several left- oriented farmer organizations have opposed GM crops in the past. It is good that some confusion regarding this that was created recently has been cleared now and the opposition of important left farmer organizations to GM food crops has been confirmed.
The serious concerns regarding GM crops are worldwide concerns but currently India has become the biggest target of the forces trying to somehow push high risk GM food crops into India. In the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Shahid Bhagat Singh, strong mobilization of people is certainly expected to oppose this, and people have high hopes from the judiciary in protecting Indian farming and food system.
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The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include ‘India’s Quest for Sustainable Farming and Healthy Food’, ‘14 Questions About GM Crops’ (plus its Hindi version) and /Protecting Earth for Children’

टिप्पणियाँ

ट्रेंडिंग

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

- हरसिंग जमरे, भिखला सोलंकी, रतन अलावे*  15 और 16 फरवरी को निमाड के बड़वानी, खरगोन और बुरहानपुर में जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन के नेतृत्व में आदिवासी महिला-पुरुषों ग्रामीण भारत बंद में रैली एवं विरोध प्रदर्शन किया । प्रधान मंत्री द्वारा 2014 में फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने का वादा किया गया था, 2016 में किसानों की आय दुगना करने का वादा किया गया था । आज, फसलों का दाम नहीं बढ़ रहा है, लेकिन खेती में खर्च बढ़ता जा रहा है! खाद, बीज और दवाइयों का दाम, तीन-चार गुना बढ़ चुका है! किसानों को लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने के बजाए, खेती को कंपनियों के हवाले करने के लिए 3 काले कृषि कानून लाए गए । 3 काले कानून वापस लेते समय प्रधान मंत्री ने फिर वादा किया था कि फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव की कानूनी गारंटी के लिए कानून बनाएँगे, लेकिन वो भी झूठ निकला! आज जब देश के किसान दिल्ली में आपको अपना वादा याद दिलाने आए है, तब आप उनका रास्ता रोक रहें है, उनके साथ मारपीट कर उन पर आँसू गैस फेंक रहें हैं, उन पर छर्रों से फायरिंग कर रहें है! देश को खिलाने वाला किसान खुद भूखा रहे, क्या यही विकास है?

18થી નાની ઉંમરના 1,15,129 બાળકો શાળા બહાર? વાસ્તવિક આંકડો 15-20 ગણો વધું

- સુખદેવ પટેલ*  16 એપ્રિલથી સમગ્ર ગુજરાતમાં શાળા બહારના 6 થી 19 વર્ષની ઉંમરના બાળકોનો સર્વે શરૂ થયો છે.  જે 26 એપ્રિલ સુધી ચાલશે. જેની જવાબદારી સરકારી શાળાના શિક્ષકોને સોંપવામાં આવી છે. અત્યારે પ્રાથમિક શાળાઓમાં વાર્ષિક પરીક્ષાઓ ચાલી રહી છે. લોકસભાની ચૂંટણીઓના કામ પણ શિક્ષકોને ભાગે કરવાના આવશે. શિક્ષકો કેટલું કરી શક્શે? શિક્ષકો પાસેથી વ્યાજબી રીતે કેટલી અપેક્ષાઓ રાખવી જોઈએ? RTE ની જોગવાઈઓ મુજબ દરેક બાળક શિક્ષણ મેળવી શકે, તે માટે શાળા બહારના બાળકોને સર્વે કરીને શોધી કાઢવાનું ઉમદા કામ સરકાર વિચારે છે, તે આવકારદાયક છે. આવાં ઉત્તમ કામમાં જેમને સીધો લાભ થવાનો છે,  તેવાં હિતધારકોની પ્રતિનિધિ સમિતિ SMC સ્કૂલ મેનેજમેન્ટ કમિટી આ જવાબદારી સારી રીતે ઉપાડી શકે તેમ છે. શિક્ષણ વિભાગ SSA તરફથી આ કામગીરીમાં SMC ની ભાગીદારીનું આયોજન કરીને યોગ્ય માર્ગદર્શિકા તૈયાર કરવી જોઈએ.

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं को मजबूत करने के बजाय बीमा आधारित सेवाओं को प्राथमिकता क्यों?

- राष्ट्रीय स्वास्थ्य अधिकार अभियान  वैश्विक स्तर पर “विश्व स्वास्थ्य दिवस” इस साल “हमारा स्वास्थ्य, हमारा अधिकार” की अवधारणा को केन्द्रित कर मनाया जा रहा है। इस उपलक्ष्य में राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर स्वास्थ्य अधिकार संघर्ष को मजबूत करने के लिए, संवैधानिक और नीतिगत रूप में स्वास्थ्य को मौलिक अधिकार बनाने के लिए, स्वास्थ्य के विभिन्न आयामों को लोगों के हक के लिए संगठित करने, जागरूक करने और स्वास्थ्य के मानकों पर कार्य करने हेतु तथा सरकार को जनता के प्रति जिम्मेदार बनाने हेतु जन आंदोलनों के राष्ट्रीय समन्वय ने स्वास्थ्य अधिकार अभियान के माध्यम से जनता के पक्ष को मजबूत करने के लिए राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर स्वास्थ्य अधिकार के मुद्दे पर सक्रिय रूप से कार्य करेगा।

અમદાવાદ પોલિસ કમિશનરનું જાહેરનામું: નાગરિક સ્વાતંત્ર્ય પર તરાપ મારવાની પ્રક્રિયાનો એક ભાગ

- હેમંતકુમાર શાહ  અમદાવાદના પોલિસ કમિશનરનું લોકશાહી વિરોધી વધુ એક પગલું ચૂંટણી ટાણે જોવા મળ્યું છે.   તા. ૧૬-૦૪-૨૦૨૪ના રોજ તેમણે એક જાહેરનામું બહાર પાડીને ફોજદારી કાર્યવાહી અધિનિયમ-૧૯૭૩ની કલમ-૧૪૪ આખા શહેરમાં લાગુ કરી જણાવ્યું છે કે "કોઈ પણ પ્રચારપ્રસાર રેલી દરમ્યાન કોઈ એ કાળા વાવટા ફરકાવવા નહિ કે ઉશ્કેરણીજનક બેનર કે પ્લે કાર્ડ બતાવવું નહિ અથવા કોઈ વિરોધમાં ઉશ્કેરણીજનક સૂત્રોચ્ચાર કરવો નહિ."

न नौकरियाँ, न पर्याप्त मजदूरी, न राहत: अनौपचारिक श्रमिकों के लिए मोदी की विरासत

- प्रतिनिधि द्वारा  भारत में वास्तविक मज़दूरी 2014-15 के बाद से नहीं बढ़ी है, जबकि देश की जीडीपी जरूर बेहतर हुई है। इस दौरान देश की सामाजिक सुरक्षा व्यवस्था भी थम सी गई है। देश के अनौपचारिक श्रमिकों का जीवन बेहद अनिश्चित है, खासकर झारखंड जैसे राज्यों में जहां अनौपचारिक रोजगार लाखों लोगों की आजीविका का मुख्य स्रोत है।

क्या कांग्रेस का घोषणापत्र मुस्लिम लीग की सोच को प्रतिबिंबित करता है?

- राम पुनियानी गत 4 अप्रैल 2024 को भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस ने 2024 के आमचुनाव के लिए अपना घोषणापत्र जारी किया. पार्टी ने इसे 'न्याय पत्र' का नाम दिया है. इसमें जाति जनगणना, आरक्षण पर 50 प्रतिशत की ऊपरी सीमा हटाने, युवाओं के लिए रोज़गार, इंटर्नशिप की व्यवस्था, गरीबों के लिए आर्थिक मदद आदि का वायदा किया गया है. घोषणापत्र का फोकस महिलाओं, आदिवासियों, दलितों, ओबीसी, किसानों और युवाओं व विद्यार्थियों के लिए न्याय पर है. कांग्रेस के एक प्रवक्ता ने कहा कि घोषणापत्र यह वादा करता है कि भाजपा के पिछले 10 सालों के शासनकाल में समाज के विभिन्न तबकों के साथ हुए अन्याय को समाप्त किया जाएगा.