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Top US multinational corporation (MNC) Monsanto has withdrawn a new GM cotton seed it was planning to introduce in India. Pointing out that the MNC was doing it in protest, Mayank Bhardwaj of Reuters news agency says, the MNC has “withdrawn” its application seeking approval for its next generation of genetically modified cotton seeds in India.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

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Joblessness, saffronisation, corporatisation of education: BJP 'squarely responsible'

Counterview Desk  In an open appeal to youth and students across India, several student and youth organizations from across India have said that the ruling party is squarely accountable for the issues concerning the students and the youth, including expensive education and extensive joblessness.

Following the 3000-year old Pharaoh legacy? Poll-eve Surya tilak on Ram Lalla statue

By Sukla Sen  Located at a site called Abu Simbel in Nubia, Upper Egypt, the eponymous rock temples were created in 1244 BCE, under the orders of Pharaoh Ramesses II (1303-1213 BC)... Ramesses II was fond of showcasing his achievements. It was this desire to brag about his victory that led to the planning and eventual construction of the temples (interestingly, historians say that the Battle of Qadesh actually ended in a draw based on the depicted story -- not quite the definitive victory Ramesses II was making it out to be).

India's "welcome" proposal to impose sin tax on aerated drinks is part of to fight growing sugar consumption

By Amit Srivastava* A proposal to tax sugar sweetened beverages like tobacco in India has been welcomed by public health advocates. The proposal to increase sin taxes on aerated drinks is part of the recommendations made by India’s Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian on the upcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the parliament of India.