Further delay to India’s biotechnology authority
The introduction of the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill into Parliament has been delayed, national media report. The Bill was to be tabled in the Lok Sabha (lower house) of Parliament on the last day of the latest monsoon session, which ended on September 7th. The Science and Technology Minister, Vayalar Ravi, decided to withdraw it at the last minute after facing opposition from some MPs. 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). Apart from the slow progress, the proposed BRAI has also been mired in a lot of recent controversy. A report from an Indian parliamentary standing committee, made public last month, recommended a rethink on the scope of the BRAI and suggested the setting up of an “all-encompassing” Biosafety Authority ( Agrow No 646, p 33).