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India’s biotech authority bill tabled in Parliament

The Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill has been tabled in the Lok Sabha (lower house) of Parliament. The proposed Authority is envisaged to act as a single-window clearance for field trial approvals for genetically modified crops. Commercial approval for cultivation of GM crops would remain within the purview of central and state governments. The Bill was to be tabled in Parliament last year but was withdrawn by the then Science and Technology Minister at the last minute ( Agrow No 648, p 19). The founding of the BRAI was proposed by an Agriculture Ministry task force in 2004 ( Agrow No 451, p 20) and the Department of Biotechnology came up with a draft plan in 2008 ( Agrow No 545, p 21). But the Bill has been a controversial topic and progress has been slow.

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