Recent approval of Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India for commercial cultivation of Bt Brinjal led to an expression of a variety of opinions in the popular media. Biotech News asked some of India’s most respected scientific personalities to comment on the issue of Bt Brinjal and the controversy

The Environment Minister, Mr. Jairam Ramesh chaired the first in a series of nationwide consultations on the issue of BT Brinjal at Kolkata. Organised by the MoEF and CEE this consultation aims at giving the public a forum where meaningful debate on the issue can take place before a final decision on the introduction of BT Brinjal is taken.

A coalition of organizations opposed to genetically modified food in India has written to the minister of state for environment and forests seeking withdrawal of clearance given to Bt brinjal. The Coalition for GM-free India alleged the expert committee that cleared the genetically modified brinjal for commercial cultivation in the country was neither impartial nor thorough.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) cleared Bt brinjal for commercialization on 14 October 2009. The activists are up in arms terming the approval as a shame. The government has chosen to go slow and states that it would consult the stakeholders before making a decision on the release.

As eight states have said no to Union government's plan to approve Bt Brinjal, this timely booklet by Greenpeace details its impacts on environment & health and opposes the commercial release of this GM Crop.

The issues relating to Genetically Modified Crops have generated

Brinjal commonly known as eggplant, aubergine or guinea squash, is an important vegetable crop of tropical and temperate parts of the world. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, especially iron. Besides being used as an important vegetable, eggplant has been exploited extensively in traditional medicine.

With environmental clearance from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests in place, Bt-Brinjal has taken an important step towards its widespread cultivation. As is expected, a variety of views, supportive as well as those advocating caution have been expressed regarding the introduction of Bt-brinjal.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee

Lobbying for and against the GM food peaks in the run up to the final clearanceEven as it appears that brinjal is set to become the first genetically modified (GM) food to be approved for commercial production in India, lobbying against the final nod by the government has reached a feverish pitch.