NEW DELHI: The Economic Survey has backed adoption of genetically modified (GM) seeds for increasing productivity and suggested the government extend it to all crops without limiting it to transgenic mustard.
"The controversies on the adoption of high yielding variety (HYV) and GM seeds need to be resolved and extended to all crops, not just mustard", said the Economic Survey, tabled in Parliament on the last day of the monsoon session on Friday. The survey found the uncertainty around GM crops as one of the policy risks in agriculture.
It said, "An important measure that can reduce risk is the introduction of HYV and GM seeds that have been stuck in controversies over decades."
The suggestion comes at a time when the government still has to make up its mind for allowing commercial release of GM mustard due to strong opposition from the RSS-linked outfit Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and other organisations despite its safety clearance from the central biotech regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
The survey listed this suggestion as one of the multiple measures which the government should take to minimise risk in agriculture and deal with agrarian distress. The survey noted that the productivity issue can also be addressed by increasing coverage of water saving irrigation systems like micro irrigation systems and routing inputs through direct benefit transfer mode in a crop neutral manner.
"The progress needs to be evaluated in terms of outcomes such as catching up with global yields as a means to increase income of farmers. The dissemination of scale neutral technology suited to small scale farming and use of IT is necessary to improve the productivity of small farm holdings which dominate the Indian agriculture sector", said the survey.