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06 JULY, 2017 (MAINS)

TODAYS ANSWER WRITING CHALLENGE FROM GS-III

 

Q1. “Genetically modified crops are the pillars of India’s second Green Revolution.” Critically examine this statement in the light of ensuring sustainable food production in India. (200 words)

 

Please write the answer in comments section

  • Osho Korde

    The GM mustard planted in the half-acre field in the grounds of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi is in the final stage of trials before the variety is allowed to be sold commercially, and that could come within two years, scientists associated with the project say.
    India placed a moratorium on GM aubergine in 2010 fearing the effect on food safety and biodiversity. Field trials of other GM crops were not formally halted, but the regulatory system was brought to a deadlock.
    But allowing GM crops is critical to boosting dismal farm productivity in India, where urbanisation is devouring arable land and population growth will mean there are 1.5 billion mouths to feed by 2030—more even than China.
    Govt. was a supporter of GM crops the time when GM cotton was introduced in the country and became a huge success. Launched in 2002, Bt cotton, which produces its own pesticide, is the country’s only GM crop and covers 95% of India’s cotton cultivation of 11.6 million hectares (28.7 million acres).
    From being a net importer, India has become the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of the fibre.
    Second green revolution
    Largely agricultural India became self-sufficient in foodgrains after the launch of the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when it introduced high-yielding seed varieties and the use of fertiliser and irrigation.
    The challenge now is to replicate that success in edible oils and vegetables, which are increasingly in demand.
    India imports about 60% of its edible oil needs at an annual cost of up to $10 billion—its third-biggest import item after crude oil and gold.
    The trials of the mustard plant, which provides the highest yield of all oilseeds, are being led by Delhi University researchers headed by Deepak Pental, a scientist who returned to India in 1985 from Britain.
    The environment ministry official said studies have found no ill effects from GM foods and that local firms should partner with multinationals like Monsanto, which has already licensed its Bt Cotton product to several Indian companies.