Team:IIT Delhi/BRAI




The government of India introduced the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill (BRAI), 2013 in the Parliament in the last budget session.
The Bill proposes to set up a centralised single window clearance system which is designed to lower the bar for GM crop approvals with no independent long-term safety assessments or need assessment of a particular GM product. It also takes away the decision-making power of state governments on open field trials in their states. Furthermore, it proposes to override the RTI (Right to Information) Act. The bill is currently under review of the Parliamentary Standing committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forest.

The government has been facing a lot of opposition in implementation of this bill simply because it is seen as granting protection to biotech companies and at the same time undermines the rights of the citizens of the country. Delhi, the national capital has seen a lot of protests in the last few months in opposition to BRAI. Newsarticle

Aam Aadmi Party, a newly formed political party is one of the few political parties which has strongly opposed this bill. Party leader Arvind Kejriwal (an IIT alumnus) has been quoted in the newspapers as saying, "The Aam aadmi is unaware of GM crops and the BRAI. He/she does not understand it. If they did, then this demonstration site (Jantar Mantar, New Delhi) would have been milling with people as it concerns their health and safety. Regulation spells corruption and our party is striving to change the political system that breeds corruption."

We contacted them to know their views and this is the reply which they gave us:

"I am not sure what was quoted in the newspapers - but what I can say at this moment, is that,we have formed many committees on all issues related to policy matters. We are waiting for their recommendations, once we have those, we will place those on public domain & will seek people's verdicts/comments/suggestions/feedback on those. Then we will talk about policy matters."

Meanwhile, going by the latest stance of the government it looks like India may impose a moratorium on open field trials of Bt crops until 'adequate regulatory mechanisms and safety standards are put in place'.

However, this is limited to crops, and there is no moratorium on manufacture of drugs. Public opposition to the BRAI bill is growing, lead by organisations like Greenpeace.

We have also been studying the biotechnology regulations in other countries and comparing them with ours. We, as students, feel strongly for policy making in the field of biotechnology.

Feel Free to contact us at igemiitdelhi2013 at gmail dot com if you have queries; requests; suggestions et cetera.

Thanks to iGEM and IIT Delhi,
we had an awesome summer!
Our Project was supported by and done by the students

 of IIT Delhi, India.

This project was done as a part of iGEM:
iGEM Main Website