Time to dump Swadeshi fogeys

By approving the commercial use of indigenously developed genetically modified mustard, a government panel has sent across a good signal; it has made it clear that the Luddite activists would not be heeded to beyond a point.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of the Ministry of Environment made the recommendation on Thursday regarding GM mustard. “The agenda of GM mustard came up in a meeting of the GEAC. It has given a positive recommendation. It has recommended the approval of GM mustard for commercial release,” PTI quote a Ministry official as saying.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to consult Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave to decide on the matter. It may not be an easy decision to make, though, for the medievalists from the Right (like the Swadeshi Jagran Manch) and the Left (like Vandana Shiva and Suman Dubey) will raise a stink.

The SJM has already started screaming. “We are against the commercial use of any genetically modified crops, including the GM mustard. We will request that the government should not allow its commercial cultivation,” said SJM co-convener Ashwani Mahajan.

The SJM is against such crops because, as it wrote in February 2016 in a letter to Minister of Environment & Forest Prakash Javdekar, “GM technology is neither increasing the yield of the crops nor is it in any way decreasing the miseries of the farming community.” This flies in the face of the fact that GM foods are a multi-billion dollar industry in which top multinational corporations are involved. Further, millions of farmers all over the world have benefited from GM crops.

At any rate, the SJM’s assertions were not the result of its own studies; it was just parroting the lies of international anti-science bodies like Greenpeace. Such is the virulence of these myth-mongering organizations that as apolitical a community as that of scientists got incensed by them. Over 100 Nobel laureates wrote a letter to Greenpeace in June 2016 urging it to end its jihad against genetically modified organisms (GMOs). “We urge Greenpeace and its supporters to re-examine the experience of farmers and consumers worldwide with crops and foods improved through biotechnology, recognize the findings of authoritative scientific bodies and regulatory agencies, and abandon their campaign against ‘GMOs in general and Golden Rice in particular,” the letter said.

They were referring to a GM strain of rice that could check Vitamin-A deficiencies in the developing world. Richard Roberts, chief scientific officer of New England Biolabs and winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize with Phillip Sharp organized letter campaign.

“We’re scientists. We understand the logic of science. It’s easy to see what Greenpeace is doing is damaging and is anti-science,” Roberts told The Washington Post. “Greenpeace initially, and then some of their allies, deliberately went out of their way to scare people. It was a way for them to raise money for their cause.”

It is astonishing how SJM fogeys blindly follow videshi bodies like Greenpeace, how they shamelessly join hands with Left-leaning activists, ignoring the fact that the latter hate the SJM’s ideology, Hindutva.

The Prime Minister has to ensure that the pressure exerted by the irrational and retrograde elements like SJM activists is completely disregarded. Such people are a drag on the economy and a bane of the country. And they surely are a roadblock to Modi’s promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

Picture courtesy: www.wikipedia.org