06 April 2022, New Delhi: Union Minister of Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh said that the Government of India through its various agencies is supporting ninety eight (98) projects for improvement of rice (72) and wheat (26) through application of biotechnology in agriculture.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Government of India has been supporting application of biotechnology tool in the areas of agriculture and allied sectors through extra mural research grants provided by the Department of Biotechnology, Department of Agriculture Research and Education/ India Council of Agriculture Research, National Agriculture Sciences Fund (NASF) and Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB).
Dr Jitendra Singh also clarified that the Government of India has not approved commercial cultivation of genetically Modified (GM) rice and wheat in the country. He added that the Centre has received applications for the commercial release of food crops GM mustard and Bt-brinjal under the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) as per provisions of the rules for the manufacture, use/import/export and storage of hazardous microorganisms/ genetically engineered organisms or cells, 1989 of the Environment Protection Act (1986).
The Government of India through GEAC has received feedback from multiple stakeholders for these crops. GEAC has advised the developer to conduct additional studies for the assessment of impact on environment and health.