A 10-year blanket ban on field trials of genetically modified (termed Bt) crops, proposed by an expert committee set up by the Supreme Court, has set off alarm bells, especially in the cotton sector.

A senior government official said it would be like gifting a 10-year monopoly on Bt cotton to a single company, Monsanto, and clipping the wings of upcoming competitors, such as Bayer, Dow, DuPont and Syngenta, and some public sector companies.