Thoughts on economics and liberty

Category: Liberty

My December 2004 email in which I request Sharad Joshi to take everyone into confidence

Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2004 11:17:09 +1100
From: Sanjeev Sabhlok
Subject: [SBP-Exec-support] for Sh. Sharad Joshi
To: executive@liberalpartyofindia.org

Dear Sh. Joshi,

1. I note that Sh. Ashok Desai has had to repeat his request on numerous
occasions now without a suitable response. You’ll agree that everyone
involved has displayed exemplary patience in waiting for you to allocate
time to urban liberals – who do not form your direct constituency but are
the backbone of the Indian liberal political movement. Could I request that
you do the needful in this case, rather urgently? Unless there is a reason
such as sickness or other pressing matter, such delays in communication can
potentially lead to misunderstandings and send a signal that you do not
really care for the larger Indian liberal cause. Let us not forget it was
this constituency that raised significant funds for SBP earlier this year,
and can, and will, do much greater wonders if fully persuaded of the
relevance of the task ahead.

Barun had raised concerns earlier this year about your shift of focus on a
smaller constituency at the possible expense of the greater Indian cause. I
believe inordinate delays such as this can fuel such concerns. We cannot
afford not to work as one team. We are too few of us.

2. I’ve noted your question raised in Parliament of 17 December 2004 (copy
attached). It is attached below for info of others. Not quite related to a
liberal issue, I think. It seems to support a ‘get more from government’
mentality and playing out one group of citizens against the others, instead
of saying: government, get out of our way! Why should people be stranded
anywhere merely because a state government bans “public” transport on hills
during night? Are there no other private operators willing to do that task?
If so maybe it is not an economically viable exercise and in that case
aren’t we effectively robbing some helpless tax payers to fund some
“special” people somewhere in the country? What happens if the time is
changed? Won’t someone else get affected? Why do we want to play off one
group against others? Maybe these people who choose to live in a remote
corner need to stay overnight at the station and then go home the next day.
We should be fighting to privatise the railways completely, I think, and
the abolition of state funded ‘public’ transport companies. Why do we allow
the state to run a transport business and not protest about it? And if it
chooses to run a business why do we tolerate a ban on running its own
chosen (monopolistic) business at night? What a Kafkaesque society do we
live in? Can we ask ‘big picture’ questions in the Parliament, please?

And are there plans to put up private member Bills, as earlier discussed?

Regards, Sanjeev

>Date: 19 Dec 2004 06:05:42 -0000
>From: ASHOK DESAI
>To: “Sanjeev Sabhlok”
>Subject: Re: [SBP-Exec-support] Babu Joseph’s material, and Ayn Rand
>Cc: executive@liberalpartyofindia.org

>For Mr Sharad Joshi
>
>You will recall your promise that when you were
next in Delhi, you would meet those of us who had misgivings about your
personal decision last March to form an alliance between Swatantra Bharat
Party and the Hindu joint family – the BJP and Shiv Sena. Parliament is
sitting – when the Hindu joint family allows it to. So I presume you are in
Delhi. Would you give me a few dates in the next two weeks so that I can
call a meeting between you and those who had questions about your
decision?
>
>Ashok V Desai

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My climate change position in a nutshell – in a slide and a few tweets

Note: I should have added stuff about the oscillations. Maybe some other time.

 

 

 

 

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Recent questions on GM crops and HT Bt cotton in India’s parliament

This started on 4 July as two questions. Now I’ve updated the title to provide a running record of parliamentary question on GM crops (There are a few more as well: http://164.100.47.5/qsearch/QResult.aspx  and http://164.100.47.5/qsearch/QResult.aspx)

QUESTION #1, 2 July 2019

PDF here, Word document here

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS WELFARE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COOPERATION AND FARMERS WELFARE

LOK  SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1691

TO BE ANSWERED ON THE 2ND JULY, 2019

BAN ON GM CROPS

  1. DR. SUKANTA MAJUMDAR: SHRI KHAGEN  MURMU:

Will the Minister of AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS WELFARE  be pleased to state:

  • whether a number of Genetically Modified (GM) crops have  been  banned for cultivation in the country;
  • if so, the details threrof;
  • whether incidents  of  illegal cultivation of Genetically Modified seeds like  Bt  Cotton,  Bt Brinjal  have  been reported in different parts of the country;
  • if so, the detail thereof;
  • whether the  Government  has formulated various measures and bio-safety protocols for the introduction of GM crops  in the country; and
  • if so, the steps being taken by the Government in this regard?

ANSWER

MINISTER  OF AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS WELFARE (SHRI NARENDRA SINGH TOMAR)

(a) & (b): Bt. cotton is the only Genetically Modified (GM) crop approved in 2002 by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for commercial cultivation in the Country and, therefore, cultivation of other unapproved GM crops are banned in India.

(c) & (d): Few incidences of suspected open cultivation of Bt. brinjal and HT cotton were reported in Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare has issued advisories to States to take appropriate necessary action to curb and control the spread of Bt. Brinjal and HT cotton. State Governments have given the directions to all District Administration to take necessary legal steps to curb the production and selling of illegal GM crops.

  • & (f): There is a well established regulatory framework for approval of GM Crops as per “Rules for the Manufacture/Use/Import/Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms, Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989” under  the  Environment  (Protection)  Act, 1986 in the

Evaluation of each application of GM crop is done on a case-to-case basis after  a thorough examination of health, environment, food and feed safety assessment studies undertaken in a systematic and scientific manner as per prescribed guidelines, manuals and standard operating procedures stipulated by various regulatory agencies under the Rules, 1989 from time to time. The data generated by the applicants is reviewed at every step in the development process of GM crops by various Statutory Committees under the Rules, 1989 such as Institutional Biosafety Committee, Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation and Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee.

A series of guidelines and protocols have been issued by Department of Biotechnology and Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change relating to Genetically Modified Organisms and product thereof as under:

  1. Recombinant DNA Safety Guidelines, 1990
  2. Revised Guidelines for Research in Transgenic Plants, 1998
  • Guidelines for the  Safety  Assessment  of  Foods  Derived  from  Genetically Engineered Plants, 2008
  1. Guidelines for  the   monitoring   of   Confined  Field   Trials   of   Regulated,  Genetically Engineered (GE) Plants, 2008
  2. Standard  Operating   Procedures   (SOPs)   for   Confined   Field   Trials   of   Regulated,

Genetically Engineered (GE) Plants, 2008

  1. Protocol for Food and Feed Safety Assessment of GE crops, 2008
  • Guidelines and Handbook for Institutional Bio-safety Committees (IBSCs), 2011
  • Environmental  Risk   Assessment   of   Genetically   Engineered   Plants:   A   Guide   for Stakeholders, 2016
  1. Guidelines for  the  Environmental  Risk  Assessment  of  Genetically  Engineered  Plants,

x     Risk Analysis Framework, 2016.

********

QUESTION #2, 2 July 2019

PDF here. Word document here.

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS WELFARE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COOPERATION AND FARMERS WELFARE

LOK SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1746

TO BE ANSWERED ON THE 2ND JULY, 2019

  1. COTTON PRODUCTION
  1. PROF. SAUGATA ROY:

Will the Minister of AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS WELFARE be pleased to state:

  • whether the Cotton production in the country is rising;
  • if so, the details thereof, State-wise;
  • whether the  Government  has  taken  necessary  steps  to  ensure  the  price  is commensurate with the cost of production; and
  • if so, the details thereof?

ANSWER

MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND FARMERS WELFARE ( SHRI NARENDRA SINGH TOMAR)

(a) & (b):  Yes Sir, the production of cotton is rising since last three years (Annexure-I).

However, separate production figures are not available for Bt cotton and non-Bt cotton.

(c) & (d): Government fixed Minimum Support Price (MSP) of cotton at minimum of 50% as the margin over cost of production.

Annexure-I

Cotton production in major cotton growing States:

Production (‘000’ bales of 170 kgs. each)

S. No.States2015-162016-172017-18
1Andhra Pradesh1888.001564.002087.00
2Gujarat9400.008575.0010187.00
3Haryana993.002041.001627.00
4Karnataka2000.001010.001844.00
5Madhya Pradesh1800.002050.691620.00
6Maharashtra7500.0010618.766094.00
7Odisha300.00382.00408.00
8Punjab750.001031.031283.00
9Rajasthan1214.001401.921893.00
10Tamil Nadu369.00359.00445.00
11Telangana3661.003444.005195.00
12Others130.00100.00122.00
All India30005.0032577.4032805.00

Source: Directorate of Economic and Statistics, DAC&FW.

QUESTION #3, 12 July 2019

Source

This admits that there are two views on the issue and that GAEC has advised further studies. The continued moratorium is unfortunate but the answer possibly amounts to some progress since courts will not tolerate arresting people on a matter on which the government admits to having different expert opinions.

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE

LOK SABHA

STARRED QUESTION NO. 288

TO BE ANSWERED ON 12.07.2019
Genetically Modified Crops

*288. SHRI JAYADEV GALLA:

Will the Minister of ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE be pleased to state:
(a) whether various NGOs are objecting to the Genetically Modified (GM) Mustard, Brinjal, etc.;

(b) if so, the reasons therefor;

(c) whether it is true that farmers are demanding introduction of more GM crops and if so, the details thereof;

(d) whether the Ministry has released the bio-safety data on GM Mustard, Brinjal, etc., if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor; and

(e) whether his Ministry has got any feedback from various stakeholders, general public, experts and others in this regard, if so, the details thereof?

ANSWER
MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE (SHRI PRAKASH JAVADEKAR)

(a) to (e) A statement is laid on the Table of the House.
***
STATEMENT REFERRED TO IN REPLY TO LOK SABHA STARRED QUESTION NO. 288 TO BE ANSWERED ON 12.07.2019 REGARDING GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS BY SHRI JAYADEV GALLA:
(a) and (b) Yes. This Ministry has received some representations objecting to Genetically Modified (GM) Mustard, Brinjal crops etc. on grounds that GM crops may adversely impact environment, biodiversity and human health.

(c) Yes. Shetkari Sanghatana, a farmer’s organisation in Maharashtra has written to this Ministry for permitting access to more GM Crops for the welfare of farmers in India.

(d) Yes, biosafety data on GM Brinjal and GM Mustard was made available during public consultation by Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee as per biosafety regulations.

(e) Yes, feedback was received from multiple stakeholders both for and against release of GM Brinjal and GM Mustard. The feedback was suitably considered by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, which has advised additional studies to be conducted for assessment of impact on environment and health.

QUESTION #4, 19 July 2019

Source

[Screenshot here, and PDF, in case GOI removes this info]

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
LOK SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO: 4441
ANSWERED ON: 19.07.2019
Safety of GM Crops
Kirti Vardhan Singh
Will the Minister of ENVIRONMENT, FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE be pleased to state:-

(a) whether the Government is aware that Genetically Modified (GM) crops are unsafe and if so, the details thereof and the preventive measures taken by the Government in this regard;
(b) whether GM crops are assessed case by case;
(c) if so, the details and the outcome thereof;
(d) whether the Government is aware that GM crops like Bt. Brinjal are being cultivated by farmers even though it has not been approved by the competent authority; and
(e) if so, the details thereof and the action taken by the Government so far to check the further farming of Bt. Brinjal?

ANSWER
MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE
(SHRI BABUL SUPRIYO)

(a) to (c) All Genetically Modified (GM) crops have to undergo elaborate food, feed and environmental safety assessment following regulatory guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures under Rules for the Manufacture, Use/Import/Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro Organisms/ Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for approval of commercial cultivation in the country. As of now, Bt. cotton is the only GM crop approved for commercial cultivation in the country after extensive evaluation and satisfying all regulatory requirements.

There is no scientific evidence to prove that GM crops are unsafe. GM foods are regulated under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which consolidates laws for manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption. So far, no Living Modified Organisms relating to food has been approved by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

In order to ensure that GM crops are safe for human health and environmental release in the country, bio-safety assessment is done for each crop on a case by case basis as per applicable guidelines, manuals and protocols prescribed from time to time by relevant agencies under Rules, 1989 under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

(d) and (e) Yes. This Ministry has received complaints on illegal cultivation of Bt. Brinjal in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Punjab. All States/Union Territories (UTs) have been directed to constitute and strengthen State/UT Biotechnology Coordination Committees and District Level Committees for monitoring instances of illegal cultivation of GM Crops and taking appropriate action under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
***

 

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