New Delhi: Even as some Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh-linked groups had asked for a ban on genetically modified food, the Centre has hinted that it might allow the field trials. Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister of State Prakash Javadekar said that no one can ignore science.
""Yesterday somebody asked me about field trials of GM crops. I have said we are not saying no to science. Nobody can say no to science. You have to take proper caution, you have to take proper action. But you cannot deny. We are not living in Galileo times. Galileo was speaking the truth and he was punished. Nation that do not believe in science are on the path to backwardness," said Javadekar even as the Narendra Modi government is under pressure from two RSS-linked outfits on the issue.
Sources said that the outfits have been assured that the government will tread with caution on this issue.
The demand came just days after the regulatory body, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, gave a go-ahead for the trial of 15 crops.
The representatives of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh had met Javadekar and sought a ban on open field trials of genetically modified crops.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch member KN Govindacharya said, "The RSS is putting pressure on the government for the welfare of the people."
But it could be embarrassing for the government to be seen bowing down to pressure from the RSS. A tweet from the Environment Minister earlier this month has fueled speculation of a rethink on open field trials of genetically modified crops.
He tweeted, "Field trials of genetically modified crops is not a government decision. It is a recommendation of a Committee."
The issue of open field trials of genetically modified crops as well as their commercial release has been a highly controversial issue. Former environment minister Veerappa Moily had cleared nearly 100 crops for open field trials. The Standing Committee of Parliament on agriculture and the Supreme Court appointed Technical Committee have said no to open field trials without adequate precaution and regulatory mechanisms.