Why in news?
Department of Biotechnology in the Ministry of Science and Technology has constituted a Field Inspection and Scientific Evaluation Committee (FISEC) to investigate the matter of illegal cultivation of HT cotton.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
BG Cotton – III, also known as Herbicide-Tolerant Cotton, contains Round-up Ready and Round-up Flex (RRF) gene. HT cotton in an innovation in Bt cotton as it takes care of the weeds problem at a much lower cost than the labour farmers have to engage for weeding.
As the unapproved cotton variety is claimed to be herbicide tolerant, farmers resort to indiscriminate use of glyphosate, a herbicide, causing health hazards to humans and cattle, apart from affecting the yield of cotton.
The herbicide-resistant gene could spread through pollen into the biodiversity system leading to transformation of weeds into super weeds on a large-scale. It would not only threaten the growth and yields of all crops in future, but also could increase cultivation costs and lead to health hazards
As the herbicide tolerant cotton is not approved by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) for commercial cultivation in India, its sale, cultivation and seed production is also punishable offence under Seeds Act 1966, Seed Rule 1968, Seeds (Control) Order 1983 with regard to Environmental Protection Act 1986 and Environmental Protection Rules, 1989.
SOURCE – PIB.