New Delhi, Jan 15 (): India is the second most populous country in the world and consumes agricultural produce marketed as staple food in large quantities. The economic growth has resulted in higher purchasing power of the rich and middle class to consume more vegetables and fruits. The demand for food is not only due to steady increase in population but also due to elevated standard of lifestyle and addition of new food habits. But the Indian policy makers and planners ignored the sector of Agriculture involving primary products and advocated for economic liberalization favouring import of more agricultural produce from foreign countries. This mistake has been committed for many decades.
India has been tried as a dumping ground of surplus production of food from other countries. The earliest trials were on wheat and milk. The white revolution in milk production and green revolution in agriculture were more credited to committed individuals and scientists and hard work of the people than the policy makers.
The international trade flows can be allowed in a sovereign country where it is impossible to prevent imports. The oil flowing from the middle east, Canadian and Swedish paper/ wood pulp and Malaysian rubber etc can be allowed because of factors of climate and lack of resources. Is it totally inevitable to import foods to feed Indian population?
Irrespective of whether the food is processed or unprocessed, whether it is genetically modified or not, the import of food by India shall alter the trade balance against India. It will tilt in favour of those who export primary products to India.
Hereafter the experimental trials by scientifically advanced countries shall continue to show that guinea pigs, rats, mice, cats, monkeys, dogs and even paid consenting human beings shall prove that GM food is safer and more nutritious.
The money-minded and corrupt Indian system shall pretend as if they are against GM food and make suggestions to convince or hoodwink the people on how to introduce GM foods without affecting consumers. We should note the difference between the terms “ Consumers” and “ Indian people.”
One of such suggestions is to label Genetically Modified content as GM. There are greedy voices who oppose even this suggestion stating that the label GM shall be misunderstood as “gram” which is a measure of weight. Their intention is that the GM food and natural food should not be differentiated by visual observation of the consumers when they are stacked in the shelves of single brand or multi-brand international retail stores at the purchasing points which are very near the cash counters. This is one way of cheating or misleading consumers. It is to be noted that even public hearing on introduction of such foods in India are opposed by some sections of these greedy market forces who wish to establish a theoretical justification for the introduction of GM foods in India.
Indian population still consists of most of the illiterates in the world. Even the literates are not much aware of what is GM or Non-GM. They will also assume GM means General Manager and will wonder and confuse why those abbreviations are labelled. Even assuming that all the consumers are intelligent, the labelling will result in the fate of what happened in labelling for tobacco products and liquor stating that they are injurious to health. This kind of labelling is nothing but pushing the decision on to the hands of innocent individuals thereby washing the hands of sinful governments. Money makes many things including GM food.
The Indian markets are already selling organic foods at higher prices. These agricultural produces are grown and harvested without inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. People buy these foods paying more since they believe the fertilizer free food is healthier and make them to live longer without the risk of diseases or unknown damages within their body. Even before the development of this green practice, newer varieties of crops were introduced by natural cross breeding which are already accepted with not much debate.
But GM foods are made by altering DNA, the natural basic unit of organic matter by the human intelligence and interference through genetic engineering. The justification for making GM foods lies in creating seeds which are not prone to plant diseases. This will increase the productivity to cater the increasing needs of growing global population. Since India demands more food to feed its population it is now forced to embrace the GM technology.
As usual the UN protocols on bio-safety etc shall come into picture. The United Nations which failed to prevent genocide and massacres and suppression of human rights all over the world has no authority to dictate nations like India on the issue of food.
After cornering all the benefits of Manmohan brand economic liberalisation in secondary products of manufactured goods and commodities, the international money makers are looking at the huge mouth of India in primary products. If India succumbs to the pressure building up to accept the introduction of GM foods, it is betrayal of the innocent Indian people.
If India is to allow GM foods, it should wait for the experimental results on human beings who are exposed to GM foods in other nations for a whole generation which should take at least half a century.