Parliamentary Committees Current Affairs

GM crops only after biosafety, socio-economic evaluation: Parliamentary Committee

The Parliamentary Standing Committee has recommended that no genetically modified (GM) crop should be introduced unless the biosafety and socio-economic desirability is evaluated in a transparent process. It also called for placing an accountable regime in this regard.

The recommendation was made by department-related parliamentary standing committee on science and technology and environment and forest in its 301st report on “GM crop and its impact on environment”.

Report Highlights

The Committee has also recommended that the Environment Ministry (MoEFCC) should examine the impact of GM crops on the environment thoroughly, in consultation with all stakeholders, so that all its probable effects are very clear.

It also noted that the GM crop regulator GEAC (Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee) gave its approval for commercialisation of GM mustard inspite of matter pending for decision in Supreme Court. It held that GM mustard being herbicide-tolerant GM organism (GMO), there are evidences on adverse impacts of such GMOs elsewhere in world.

Background

The Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP), Delhi University, had submitted an application to the GEAC for the environmental release of GM mustard hybrid DMH-11 and the use of parental events (EH2 mod bs 2.99 and varuna bn 3.6) for the development of a new generation of hybrids. The MoEFCC had received over 700 comments from various stakeholders, including farmers and researchers, on the Assessment of Food and Environmental Safety (AFES) report on GM Mustard.

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Union Government not in favour of new law for CBI

The Union Government has turned down the recommendation of Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee to come up with a new law for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The parliamentary committee has recommended replacing Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 which governs CBI. Government stated that it might impinge on the federal structure of the Constitution.

Recommendations of Committee
  • Powers given to the CBI under the DSPE Act are not adequate considering the pace of changing times as it has grown into a more dynamic agency specialising in prevention, investigation and prosecution of crimes.
  • In this context, there is need for a separate statute for the CBI for making it an independent and accountable agency. 
Government’s Position
  • Separate statute for the CBI will necessitate amendment of Constitution which may also impinge on the federal structure of the Constitution.
  • The mandate of Parliament to enact a law which would be in conflict with Entry 2 of List II of the Seventh Schedule which is in the domain of the States.
  • In this case, CBI may be conferred with powers which will impinge on all the powers of investigation of offences which are conferred on the State police. 

About Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • CBI is the foremost investigative police agency in India. It is non constitutional and non-statutory body.
  • It was established in 1941 as Special Police Establishment and was renamed to present nomenclature in 1963.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • Motto: Industry, Impartiality, Integrity.
  • It derives power to investigate from Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
  • It is under administrative control of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Ministry of Personnel.

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