India to enact biotechnology regulatory authority
Aug. 24, 2010
The recent Union Cabinet chaired by Indias Prime Minister approved the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill 2010 which is expected to be introduced in the ongoing session of the Parliament of India. The authority will be set up as an independent and autonomous body to provide a single window mechanism to regulate research, manufacture, import and use of products of modern biotechnology including biosafety clearances of genetically modified crops.
In June 2004, the Task Force on application of biotechnology in agriculture, under the chairmanship of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan recommended setting up of a National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority (NBRA) for promotion and regulation of application of biotechnology in agriculture. After a couple of years, NBRA has now metamorphosed into the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI). Over the last few years, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of the Ministry of Science and Technology drafted the BRAI Bill and discussed the draft bill and establishment plan with concerned stakeholders at the central and state levels. In the current form, the BRAI will be placed under a Committee of Secretaries headed by the Secretary of Department of Science and Technology (DST) and will have representation from all relevant ministries.
With the enactment of the bill by the Indian parliament, the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India will replace the existing biotech regulator - the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) which regulates biotech products as per the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1986 of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).
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