Thursday, February 11, 2010

National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority is the Need of Hour

The lack of confidence in bio-tech products is not a good news for innovation in the bio-tech sector in India. That will badly hit the development and growth in the said sector. As we have seen from the last few weeks there were lot of protests against the introduction of BT Brinjal into the Indian market. The Ministry of Environment under the stewardship of Jairam Ramesh has attempted to convince the Indian people that this latest innovation has been tested adequately as per the law of the country and that the same were safe both for the environment and for human consumption. But he was miserably failed to convince the Indian people and ultimately the Ministry has announced that it is withdrawing its proposal to introduce BT Brinjal in the Indian market. This raises a big question of what exactly is the regulatory mechanism for biotech products in India?
Currently the biotech sector is regulated by the Ministry of Environment and the Department of Biotechnology which functions under the Ministry of Science and Technology.The said Ministries have two further committees under them รข€" The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) and the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM). While the latter is the apex body functioning under the Ministry of Environment, the latter functions under the Department of Biotechnology.
The only legislation which is vaguely related to these Committees is the Environment Protection Act, 1986. The Committees are mostly regulated by a complex web of rules and regulations drafted by the bureaucrats of these Ministries who are of-course non professionals of biotechnology.
The moot question is why India is lagging behind to regulate the very important sector which can ensure the food security? So the National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill which is pending in the parliament from the last few years should get clearance from the cabinet committee and be passed as quickly as possible.

Source: Spicy IP


--
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
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