Independent India saw the first major technology led Agriculture development with the Green Revolution championed by Dr MS Swaminathan and Prof Norman Borlaug. The new technology infusion for Agriculture brought in the introduction of High yielding varieties, biotic and abiotic stress tolerant wheat and rice varieties. The agriculture output saw a three times increase and there was a clear positive impact on the poverty alleviation, farmer income, decreased imports and increased exports. Over the years, with increasing demands for enhanced agriculture productivity and production to meet the food and nutritional security targets, there has been a renewed emphasis on new technology development and deployment for agriculture improvement 

There are a number of such technologies which have globally made an impact – from Genomic marker assisted breeding to Genetic engineering to Genome editing—the potential of these technologies has been well established both in terms of human and environmental safety and they have shown great promise in terms of increased yield ,biotic and abiotic stress resistance, increased nutritional quality and climate resilience. As of January 2022 a total of 71 countries around the globe have adopted GM crops, 29 countries have grown nearly 200 million hectares of GM crops – with 24 developing countries growing about 56% of the GM crop area and the remaining 44% being covered by 5 industrial countries 

 The Government’s recent decision enabling new technology development in Agriculture is very positive and encouraging and will give a major boost to the agricultural growth in our country and bring India on the world map of R&D in agriculture biotechnology.

The Ministry of Environment & Forest and Climate Change, on 25th October 2022, based on the recommendation of the Regulator GEAC (Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee), allowed the Environmental release of transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11 and parental lines bn 3.6 and modbs 2.99 containing barnase, barstar and bar genes for developing new parental lines and hybrids. This major decision will go a long way in improving the crop yield and nutritional quality, considering that today India meets nearly 55-60% of its edible oil demand through imports. To meet this increasing domestic demand, the deployment of Genetically modified (GM) Mustard hybrids is today the best available option. The GM mustard developed by the research group at Delhi University, after more than 3 decades of research, is the first genetically modified food crop to be approved for environmental release in India. Mustard is a self-pollinating plant and this technology allows the development of a very robust hybridisation system for Mustard for making available improved hybrids to the farmers.

GM mustard lines and the first hybrid DMH-11 have gone through very stringent biosafety tests in India. We have a very robust regulatory system in the country which follows a multi tiered approval process .From the Institutional biosafety committee (IBSC) to the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) and finally the GEAC, the large volumes of data collected through biosafety studies is analysed in detail before necessary clearances  are accorded. After detailed risk assessment and considering the data on environmental safety the GEAC allows environmental release of the GM crop.

The environmental release of GM Mustard now allows the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to take these GM hybrids to the field and conduct extensive field trials and carry out required research to develop new hybrids. Post release monitoring will also generate good scientific data which will guide new hybrid production. This is an important technology platform which can be effectively used for enhancing production and productivity and also nutritional quality for many other crops. This enabling technology will through a well-planned strategy be highly beneficial for farmers who can through Public Private Partnership models have large quantities of seed produced to cover major mustard growing areas in the next couple of years.

The competence to develop new technologies and deploy them for the benefit of the farmers is the strength that our country has now demonstrated, it is imperative that we take best advantage of this to ensure that the science and technology based innovations deliver highly improved products in the hands of our farmers. New technology today has the potential to drive Agriculture development. This is now the way forward for the scientists and farmers to fulfil the vision of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat.’ 



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