Skip to main content

Monsanto "withdraws" new GM cotton seed in protest, as Govt of India asks MNC to share technology with local cos

By Our Representative
Top US multinational corporation (MNC) Monsanto has withdrawn a new GM cotton seed it was planning to introduce in India. Pointing out that the MNC was doing it in protest, Mayank Bhardwaj of Reuters news agency says, the MNC has “withdrawn” its application seeking approval for its next generation of genetically modified cotton seeds in India.
Considering it as “a major escalation in a long-running dispute between New Delhi and the world's biggest seed maker”, Reuters says, “A letter sent by Monsanto's local partner in India, the conglomerate's biggest market outside the Americas, strongly objects to a government proposal that would force Monsanto to share its technology with local seed companies.”
“The company is at loggerheads with India over how much it can charge for its genetically modified cotton seeds, costing it tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue every year”, the report says, adding, “The unprecedented decision to pull the application, which has not previously been reported, could set back Monsanto's efforts to introduce its new seed, called Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex technology, for years and lead to further losses.”
Reuters believes, “It will also ratchet up pressure on the Indian government, as it undermines Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to make the country look more attractive to foreign investors. It could also hurt Indian cotton farmers. The new seed variety helps fight against weeds, which sap the cotton crop of vital nutrients and depress yields.”
Giving details, the report says, “In a letter, dated July 5, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co Ltd (Mahyco), Monsanto's technology partner in India, singled out a government proposal, mooted in May, that would require Monsanto to share its proprietary technology.”
Quoting the letter in its possession, the report says, Mahyco is "alarmed” by the government's requirement, adding, the government's view raises “serious concerns about the protection of intellectual property rights."
Pointing out that India first allowed GM cotton cultivation in 2002 by “approving Monsanto's single gene Bollgard I technology”, the report says, “New Delhi approved the double gene Bollgard II in 2006, helping transform India into the world's top producer and second-largest exporter of the fibre as output jumped fourfold.”
However, the news agency says, Bollgard II, introduced in 2006, slowly became vulnerable to bollworms, and, as any technology, had a limited shelf life.” This led to Monsanto to come up with Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex, which it said was a technological breakthrough pushing up crop yields at a time when farmers said the existing variety was “losing its effectiveness.”
“Still, more than 41 million GM cotton seed packets were sold last year, earning royalties of 6.5 billion Indian rupees ($97 million) for Monsanto”, the report says, adding, Mahyco applied to the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) for approval of the new GM seed some time in 2007, and the application was “in the final stages of a tedious and time-consuming process, which included years of field trials.”
“In its letter to the GEAC, Mahyco said it would seek to revive the application for Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex 'at a suitable time',” the report says, adding, yet the government insisted that “there were no guarantees it would be allowed to do so.”

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.