Unapproved Bt gene seed production not reported from any state

No state in India has reported the production of seed of unapproved Bt gene, the Parliament was told on Tuesday.

“In India, only Bt Cotton is approved for commercial cultivation. Few incidences of illegal marketing of genetically modified seeds of Herbicide Tolerant (HT) cotton were reported in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, and Maharashtra. However, no state has reported the production of seed of unapproved Bt gene,” Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

He said that the Department of Biotechnology, under the Ministry of Science & Technology, had set up “Field Inspection and Scientific Evaluation Committee (FISEC)” in 2017 for on-the spot inspection of the cotton fields to assess the veracity of spread of unapproved HT cotton.

The FISEC submitted its report in May 2018 and made recommendations and action points to be implemented by various Central and state government departments and agencies. Short term (1-2 years) and medium term (2-3 years) actions have also been suggested by the committee.

Tomar also said that the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare has issued advisory to all cotton growing states to control and curb the sale and cultivation of unapproved HT cotton.