New Delhi, 23rd November, 2014: On a day when the Supreme court is expected to take a view on GM crop field trials in the country new evidences have surfaced on how the Prime Minister’s office was directly putting pressure on the former environment minister Smt Jayanti Natarajan to agree to an Union of India (UoI) affidavit drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture who had been a vocal promoter of GM crops (1). The file notings uptill 11th December 2013, now available in the public domain, shows that Ms Natarajan strongly recommended a precautionary principle based approach towards any open release of GM crops and insisting on the fact that regulation of GM crops is a mandate of MoEF who also was also the primary respondent to the case untill last year. She also disagreed with MoA drafting the UoI affidavit as conflict of interests were obvious.
“The elaborate comments on both reports – the 5 member TEC and Dr Paroda’s dissent note and the views of Government of India contained from pages 6 to page 33, are not reflective of my views or that of MoEF. These are the views of MoA. It is not known on what basis these views have been taken and whether the views of environmental scientists have been recorded with agricultural scientists. These submissions require modification and may perhaps be deleted due to time constraint in sorting out the differences”, she says
She was removed from the ministry with in 10 days of the last correspondence and was replaced with Veerappa Moily who had agreed with the PMO and MoA on the joint affidavit.