No GM rice is licensed for commercial production in India & that is not exported.
India has explicitly claimed that no genetically modified (GM) rice variety has been licenced for commercial production in India and that no GM rice has been exported. Union Minister for Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar said in a written reply in Lok Sabha on Tuesday in response to a question on if GM rice was detected in a shipment sent to the EU in 2021.
In his response, he stated that he received a border rejection letter no. 2021.3259 dated June 21, 2021, for purportedly unapproved GM rice flour. ‘The situation was investigated. There were no GMO varieties planted in India, and there is no risk of cross-contamination even during interior transportation.’
‘After thorough testing and verification before export, the cargo was inspected by an inspection body with worldwide repute and awarded a non-GMO certificate,’ he claimed, adding, ‘No variety of GM rice has been permitted for commercial production in India.’
The Indian government stated in October 2021 that it will express its displeasure to France and the European Union for being wrongfully identified as the source of 500 tonnes of genetically modified broken rice converted into rice flour by a French company, Westhove, despite the fact that the country does not produce any commercial variety of GM rice.
The Commerce Ministry said in a statement that the contamination may have occurred later while the imported broken rice was being processed in the EU and that it could possibly be a scheme to tarnish India’s reputation as a trusted supplier of quality rice.
New rice variety
In response to another question, the Minister stated that the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) is working on producing drought and salinity-tolerant rice strains.
When asked if the study is being done with a novel gene editing method, he stated that it is being done with CRISPR-Cas9 mediated genome editing technology.
He stated that the study is carried out with the consent of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBSC), which is formed by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, in accordance with Rules 1989 under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986.
Tomar responded to a question about when the new variety will be accessible in the market, saying, ‘Genome altered lines are scheduled to be available for field evaluation by Kharif 2024 and for widespread cultivation during 2026, following two years of field testing.’
Production of foodgrains
In response to a second question about the country’s expected foodgrains output, he cited the third advance estimate and stated that the estimated production of coarse cereals, pulses, and oilseeds for 2021-22 was more than the average production over the previous five years (2016-17 to 2020-21).