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Editorial, Indian Express Feb 11, 2010
You say approval, I say appraisal, let’s call the whole thing off. Approval and appraisal might sound similar, but the difference in their meaning is vast, if the context is changing the name of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee to the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee. That was how Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh signed off his busy day on Monday; that was the final part of the monumental effort at subverting budding, independent institutions that has been his populist, attention-seeking “consultation” over Bt brinjal. It started when the minister announced that, unlike earlier (for example, with Bt cotton), approval by the experts on the GEAC was not enough: since it was “his ministry” where the GEAC was administratively located, it would be his call. That over-ruling of an institutional process at little more than one individual’s discretion was what was finalised in the approval-appraisal switch.
Brinjal, BtEditorial The Financial Express (India) Feb 10, 2
Those who, it seems, went unheard were the brinjal farmers who lose more than half their crop to pests every year, and this is in spite of pesticide use. The average consumer who demands plenty and cheap food also went unnoticed—GM crops are an important way to increase yield and reduce crop losses, both of which would benefit the consumer as well as the farmer.

The minister seemed not to have bio-diversity at the top of his mind on Tuesday. Instead of doing justice to all the interests he had said he would look after, Jairam Ramesh succeeded in overturning the entire institutional structure that has been set in place to clear GM technology. And it was a good structure.

Now, the GEAC has been made irrelevant—if the decision has to be political in the end, then science it seems can be ignored. That is most unfortunate
India's Genetically Modified MistaRajesh Kumar, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2010
It is feared the Indian government’s decision to postpone the introduction of Bt brinjal will discourage private investment

India's decision to defer the launch of the genetically modified (GM) crop Bt brinjal has cast a shadow over the country's US$500m biotechnology industry, according to experts.
Bt Brinjal BytTimes of India, Feb. 11, 2010
Biotechnology can revolutionise food production. So, flat-earthers in science and society shouldn't be allowed to oppose transgenic crops for opposition's sake. Approval or rejection of genetically modified food crops should be based on scientific grounds. However, it can't be anyone's case that Bt brinjal's debut on India's market is an immediate imperative overriding all other concerns. Taking the final call, environment minister Jairam Ramesh reversed the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee's (GEAC) go-ahead. His caution is understandable. In general, the scientific jury's still out on GM foods' health impact. So, case-by-case vetting of new inventions is unavoidable even if it means delays and disappointments.

Stressing that India needed to look at its seed industry, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said he believed in the fundamental primacy of the public sector seed industry. “The first Indian public sector Bt cotton is in the market and we can’t depend on private sector biotechnology in agriculture, which is different from that in health. Biotechnology in agriculture must remain overwhelmingly with the public sector,” he said.

(if that were to be the case, Indian farmers would have waited another ten years for Bt cotton and would not have been as good either.  We have had such a superb record of private seed industry in the past two decades and what is wrong with this? - CSP)

The activist who was called 'mad' by the minister is planning to sue Jairam

Santosh B Min, a physiotherapist who is also working on the subject along with the scientific community was targeted by the minister during that meet. Min has not taken the remarks too kindly and in his interaction with rediff.com said that he is preparing a defamation suit and will back down only once the minister 'comes down to Bangalore and apologises for the remarks'.

How can a minister make such a remark? I never said that he was an agent of Monsanto but only said that he was holding a brief for them. This is something that he cannot run away from. Monsanto is a death knell and instead of introducing Bt brinjal, you might as well starve the people to death in our country. I will ensure that he resigns and repents for what he said. I am preparing a defamation suit and Ramesh must come down and admit to the nation that he had done wrong and this is no way to speak to the public.

See http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Ramesh-loses-cool-at-Bt-Brinjal-meet/articleshow/5543893.cms
Minister's interview

Bt Brinjal, not for now: Astute decision, says Swaminathan
A day after the environment ministry put a moratorium on Bt brinjal, father of the Indian Green Revolution and Rajya Sabha member, Dr M S Swaminathan, stated that the government's moratorium on commercialisation of Bt brinjal until independent studies established its safety was a wise and appropriate decision.

More by Swaminathan and Kranthi on that biosafety test results are dubious because they were done by Mahyco

Brinjal battleground
- Samar Halarnkar, Hindustan Times,  February 10, 2010

By setting aside a nine-year process of scientific experiments and approvals and declaring an uncertain, unclear moratorium on Bt brinjal, Ramesh indicated he was taking it on himself to play God with India’s attempt to introduce its first genetically engineered food crop and kickstart its second green revolution.
So, we can forgive Ramesh for caving in to public sentiment and overplaying his hand. But unless he quickly reveals a specific, clear plan for Bt brinjal, he risks jeopardising our next leap forward.

Can Genetic Engineering Protect The Environment?
Matthew Herper, Forbes, March 1, 2010