DMPQ- Discuss the process of regulation of Genetically modified (GM) foods in India.

. In India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) introduced the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 as an umbrella legislation to provide a holistic framework for the protection and improvement to the environment.

In connection with the use of micro-organisms and application of gene technology, the MoEFCC notified the “Rules for manufacture, use/import/export & storage of hazardous microorganisms/genetically engineered organisms or cells, 1989”.

Rules, 1989 are implemented by MoEFCC jointly with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology and state governments. Six Competent Authorities and their composition have been notified under these Rules that includes:

  • rDNA Advisory Committee (RDAC)
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBSC)
  • Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM)
  • Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)
  • State Biotechnology Coordination committee (SBCC)
  • District Level Committee (DLC)

Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RDAC)

This committee constituted by the DBT takes note of developments in biotechnology at national and international levels. The RDAC is advisory in nature and expected to give recommendations from time to time on safety regulations in research and applications of GMOs and products thereof.

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBSC)

It is necessary that each institution intending to carry out research activities involving genetic manipulation of microorganisms, plants or animals should constitute the IBSC. The IBSCs comprise of the head of the organization, scientists engaged in DNA work, a medical expert and a nominee of the DBT.

Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM)

The RCGM functions as a body under the DBT to monitor the safety related aspects in respect of on-going research projects and activities involving GE organisms/hazardous microorganisms.

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) 

GEAC is responsible for approval of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinant products in research and industrial production from the environment angle.

State Biotechnology Coordination Committee (SBCC)

SBCC is constituted in each State where research and applications of GMOs are underway. SBCC is headed by the Chief Secretary of the State and has primarily monitoring responsibilities.

District Level Committee (DLC)

DLCs are constituted in districts, wherever required to monitor the safety regulations in installation engaged in the use of GMOs/hazardous microorganisms and its applications in the environment.

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