New Delhi, Jun 1 (PTI) A RSS affiliate today criticised the government for withdrawing its notification capping the royalty for new genetically modified (GM) traits and alleged that it had “succumbed” to industry pressures. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), a body affiliated to the RSS, BJPs ideological mentor, said it had welcomed the notification capping the royalty payment to corporates and allowing allowing domestic production of GM crop seeds, noting that they cannot be allowed to exploit farmers under the cover of complexities of the issue. “We welcomed the notification and its contents as it cleared the law point. The issue which has been there for sometime that corporates cannot be allowed to exploit the farmers under the garb of complexities of the issue. “Once the issue has come out in the open and notification issued by fixing the royalty payment to companies and price of seeds in order that they no longer exploit farmers, its withdrawal is a very clear case of government succumbing under pressure of corporates,” SJM national co-convener
Ashwani Mahajan told PTI. He alleged certain companies like Monsanto have been “exploiting” the market by selling its seeds at exorbitant prices amounting to “exploitation” of farmers. Amid opposition from crop biotech industry, the government last week withdrew a notification capping royalty for new genetically modified (GM) traits and would now seek comments from stakeholders before taking a final call. Government had earlier issued the notification on May 18 regarding the guidelines for Bt cotton technology, which will now be put in the public domain for the period of 90 days, in the same form for comments and suggestions of all stakeholders, an official statement said. Sources said the decision to seek public comments was taken at the highest level in view of severe criticism from biotech industry and farm experts, who are of the view that the move would hurt foreign investment in agri-research and discourage introduction of new technologies into India. Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan had said that government is withdrawing the notification but not rolling back the decision. The Agriculture Ministry issued the May 18 notification capping royalty for the new genetically modified (GM) traits at 10 per cent of the maximum sale price of BT cotton seeds for the first five years. The new licensing norms also ensured that eligible seed companies get access to the GM technology. As per the notification, after the five-year period, royalty would reduce by 10 per cent of initial value every year. If the GM technology loses its efficacy, the technology provider would not be eligible for any royalty.