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Current Affairs - 29 August 2017

General Affairs 

Noise Pollution Rules petitions: After accusing Bombay HC justice of bias, Maharashtra govt apologises
  • Bombay High Court Justice Abhay Oka today accepted an apology tendered by Maharashtra Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, days after the Devendra Fadnavis administration alleged that he was "biased."
    Until August 24, a bench headed by Justice Oka was hearing petitions regarding Noise Pollution Rules (NPR), but the Maharashtra government told Chief Justice Manjula Chellur in a letter that Justice Oka "was harbouring a serious bias against the state machinery."
    The Chief Justice then transferred the all matters pertaining to NPR implementation to a bench of justices Anoop Mohta and G S Kulkarni, before constituting a full bench which included Justice Oka on Sunday.
    Advocate General Kumbhakoni today said the government was withdrawing all allegations against Justice Oka.
    The Fadnavis administration now says it has full faith and confidence in Justice Oka. It has withdrawn the letter it sent to the Chief Justice, and says it "was not raised as an allegation against the Honourable judge personally, but was limited specifically and limited only to the subject matter."
    However, Justice Riyaz Chagla asked AG Kumbhakoni, "You had made allegations against my brother judge of bias, and then you say that it's not a personal allegation?"
    Kumbhakoni replied that the words were the state's, and not his.
    The Maharashtra government has now said it holds Justice Oka "in the highest esteem, and has highest regards for him."
    "It appears that the said intention of the state government has been widely misunderstood and misinterpreted and has been projected as if the state government is against the judiciary in general," it said.
    Justice Oka pointed out that the Advocate General was involved in a task - namely, the handing over of the government's letter  - that is normally performed by an office clerk, and called it an "extraordinary procedure."
    The three-judge bench has asked for a written apology in an affidavit from a senior Maharashtra government official. The affidavit should say who gave instructions for a letter to be written to Chief Justice Chellur on August 24.

Bawana election result 2017: What it means for AAP, BJP and Congress
  • The result in the Bawana by-elections has gone in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with the Congress and the BJP coming a distant second and third respectively. AAP's Ram Chander has registered a convincing victory with a margin of 24,000 votes over his nearest rival Ved Prakash of the BJP.
    The bypoll result has messages for all the three major contenders. While AAP has retrieved some of its lost glory, the BJP seems to be the biggest loser.
    The Congress is yet to show any signs of recovery in Delhi.
    The Bawana election result comes as a great relief for the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP. With today's result, AAP's tally in the 70-member Delhi Assembly climbs to 66, one less than what it had won in the 2015 state elections.
    In the Bawana election, AAP has registered its first victory after a series of setbacks since it had won the 2015 state Assembly elections. It had lost the much-hyped Punjab and Goa Assembly elections, result to which were announced in March this year.
    Within a month, this was followed by AAP's defeat in quick succession in the Rajouri Garden Assembly bypoll and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections.
    In the 2015 Assembly elections, AAP had won the Rajouri Garden seat. However, the seat fell vacant when AAP's Jarnail Singh resigned to contest the Punjab Assembly elections. Akali Dal's Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who contested on a BJP ticket, won the by-election. While the Congress came on the second position, the AAP candidate forfeited his deposit.
    This humiliating defeat of AAP was followed by its loss in the MCD elections. While the BJP won all the three municipal corporations for the third consecutive time, the AAP came a distant second.
    In all these defeats, AAP had blamed the Election Commission and EVMs.
    Arvind Kejriwal changed gears after these setbacks and also when the Election Commission debunked his allegation on EVMs. First, he confined himself to Delhi meeting the local people. Second, he maintained a low profile. During this period, he desisted from launching any personal attacks on rivals such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley or even Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal.
    On social media too, Kejriwal has been less active. He has hardly been posting too many original messages on Twitter. Most of his posts are retweets. Even after today's result, he did the same.

    The Bawana election result is a major setback for the BJP. It comes after the party showed signs of resurgence in the Rajouri Garden bypoll and MCD election results. It is a referendum on both - BJP candidate Ved Prakash and party's Delhi president Manoj Tiwari.
    Ved Prakash had won on AAP ticket in the 2015 elections. However, he resigned from his seat and switched sides to join the BJP, necessitating the bypoll. It seems the voters gave him thumbs down for switching loyalties. Moreover, they may have rejected him for not doing much work in the constituency.
    Manoj Tiwari, who is also the BJP Lok Sabha MP from North-east Delhi, would have to answer to party leadership for the defeat. Being a Bhojpuri actor, Tiwari is popular in Poorvanchal (eastern India comprising Uttar Pradesh and Bihar). Moreover, 35 per cent of voters in Bawana comprise voters from Poorvanchal. If the election was a litmus test for him, as was being touted, Tiwari has clearly failed.
    It is time for the BJP needs to do some introspection.
    BJP president Amit Shah reacted to today's results but confined himself to just commenting on Goa where BJP candidates Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Vishwajit Pratapsingh Rane won from Panaji and Valpoi respectively. He did not comment on Bawana election result.

    The Congress too needs to worry over the Bawana election result. It had failed to open its account in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections. It also lost the Rajouri Garden bypoll and the MCD elections. The party had claimed that its vote share in the Rajouri Garden bypolls had increased. It has made the same claim now. While taking solace in increased vote share despite coming a distant third, the Bawana election result proves that the grand old party has not yet been able to recover from the defeat it had suffered in the 2013 Delhi Assembly elections.

Dera men torch vehicles in Sirsa as Ram Rahim is sent to 10 years in jail
  • Moments before the special CBI judge awarded 10 years of rigorous imprisonment to Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the rape case, his followers at the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters once again went on rampage and torched at least two vehicles in the restive Haryana town.
    Sources have told India Today the vehicles were burnt down in Phoolka, which is close to the 100-acre Dera headquarters, in violation of the curfew imposed by the state administration following widespread violence during the weekend in which 38 people were killed.
    The violence claimed 32 lives in Panchkula and six in Sirsa, besides leaving over 260 injured, since the CBI court found the 50-year-old self-styled godman guilty in a 2002 rape case. Most of the dead were shot dead by police trying to quell the protesters who set fire to many vehicles and buildings.
    Meanwhile, CBI judge Jagdeep Singh has sent Ram Rahim to 10 years in jail for raping a female follower 15 years ago.

India-China Doklam border standoff set to end after deal on withdrawing troops
  • The 71-day old Doklam stand-off finally seems to have come to an end. On Monday, the Ministry of External Affairs announced in a press statement that both India and China on the basis of diplomatic engagements decided to 'disengage'.
    "...expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going," said the MEA statement on 'Doklam Disengagement Understanding'.
    Even as questions are being raised on the levels and nature of disengagement, highly placed sources have told India Today that the 'disengagement is mutual and simultaneous'.
    There was constant diplomatic engagement in the recent past, despite the Chinese war rhetoric, to cool tempers ahead of the BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen, China in the first week of September where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to have bilateral talks. Both sides wanted a conducive environment for talks which wouldn't have been possible if tensions at the border continued. This also comes at a time when the Chinese President is looking to be re-elected at the 19th party Congress in November.
    The MEA statement speaks of the continued engagement to de-escalate tensions. "In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam. During these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests," the ministry's statement added.
    While there has been a war of words between the two sides, India and China have kept communication open since the stand-off broke out at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction in Doklam. And Bhutan also explicitly mentioned that the bilateral agreement between China and Bhutan had been violated through the 'unilateral' action by China of building road in Doklam.

Dipak Misra sworn in as 45th Chief Justice of India
  • Justice Dipak Misra was sworn today as the 45th Chief Justice of India (CJI). At a brief ceremony in the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan, President Ramnath Kovind administered the oath of office to Misra. He took the oath in English in the name of God.
    Misra succeeded Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar.
    Notably, Justice Misra was part of the bench that confirmed the death sentence of the four convicts in the December 16 gangrape case, and passed the order for mandatory singing of the national anthem in cinema halls
    Chief Justice Misra will preside over the top court for 13 months and six days - till October 2, 2018.
    Khehar retired on Friday, as the senior most judge in Supreme Court.
    As per the established practice, Justice Khehar had named Misra as the next CJI last month. Misra was chief justice of the Patna High Court and the Delhi High Court before being elevated to the apex court in October 2011.
    After his enrollment as an advocate in 1977, Justice Misra practiced in constitutional, civil, criminal, revenue, service and sales tax matters in the Orissa High Court.
    He was appointed as an additional judge of the Orissa High Court on January 17, 1996, before his transfer to the Madhya Pradesh High Court. He became a permanent judge on December 19, 1997.
    Justice Misra is currently presiding over a bench hearing the Cauvery and Krishna river water disputes, BCCI reforms and Sahara case among others.
    Justice Misra, along with Justice P C Pant, had in May, declined to de-criminalise defamation an offence punishable with two years in jail apart from fine saying the right to free speech cannot mean that a citizen can defame anybody.
    Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several union ministers were present at the ceremony.
    Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also attended the oath ceremony.
    Friday was the last working day of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, who headed the bench which delivered two landmark judgments this week - the one abolishing instant triple talaq and the other which declared right to privacy as a fundamental right
    But at the farewell function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Attorney General KK Venugopal, Modi government's topmost law officer hinted that justice Khehar might be doing a plump post-retirement job and will not be fading into retirement.
    "A little bird told me that he (CJI Khehar) is not going anywhere and will continue to be with us, but in a different avatar," Venugopal said.

Business Affairs

GIC likely to emerge as top 10 most valued PSUs in India post its IPO
  • The primary market will see the first ever public offering by a reinsurer player General Insurance Corporation (GIC) in India. The 44- year old state owned PSU is all set to create many records.
    • GIC is all set to emerge as the top ten most valued public sector companies in India. The 44- year old  corporation, which is in the reinsurance business (offering insurance to direct insurance  companies), has net worth of close to Rs 50,000 crore and total assets of Rs 100,000 crore. The weighted average earning per share (EPS) for 2016-17 is at Rs 32 per share. The estimated market valuation of the corporation, as per the market, will be around Rs 1,00,000 crore.   
    • GIC will join the elite PSU club. Currently, the top listed PSUs are SBI, Indian Oil, ONGC, Coal India, NTPC, Power Grid  and HPCL. State Bank of India has the highest market capitalization of Rs 2.42 lakh crore followed by OIC, ONGC, Coal India and others. HPCL, which is at the night place, has a market capitalization of Rs 1.10 lakh  crore. GIC is mostly likely to take the 10th place or even move higher depending upon the listing price. Many recently listed companies are enjoying a very high price to earnings (P/E) multiple of over 30-35.
    • Amongst the financial services especially listed banks, the GIC will be next to SBI. The second largest PSU bank in term of market capitalization is Bank of Baroda, which is at Rs 71,017 crore.
    • A big opportunity for retail investor to take part in a  well run PSU. After Coal India in 2010, GIC will be the largest PSU IPO, which is set to  mobilize over Rs 10,000 crore. GIC Re would be the first re-insurance player listed on the domestic bourses. In fact, many direct insurance players are exploring the IPO option.  
    • The price discovery in GIC will lessen the burden of government for recapitalization as it can raise resources directly from the market. Given the high growth post agri and health insurance, GIC will require capital for expansion.
    • There are also risks. While the  issue looks good, there are also risk in the re-insurance space as the exposure of GIC is increasing big time in the agriculture space. The  corporation has seen a huge jump in the agri reinsurance premium from Rs 644 crore in March 2015 to Rs 9,752 crore in March 2017. Many say the agri-reinsurance is a new business for GIC where there is no past track record. "It's a high risk business," says a market player. In addition, the global re-insurers are also gradually increasing their presence in India, which has the potential to upset the calculations of GIC. In fact, global players are allowed underwrite business in India without setting up a brick and mortar office.

Hopes dim for a serious dialogue with the industry on new pharma policy
  • On August 30th, the department of pharmaceuticals, ministry of chemicals and fertilisers, has called for  a conference on draft pharmaceutical policy, with all the stakeholders, including the pharma industry bodies. It is a meeting many in the industry were looking forward to, as it presents them one last opportunity to raise their concerns. After all, the policy draft, that is being circulated for industry feedback, does not seem to have gone down well with many sections within the industry. But then, is a serious discussion on the issues that many have raised, likely to take place on the 30th? Not many seem to think so.
    Consider the agenda for the meeting: There is very little time being given to the industry to make its case. The day-long meeting will have speeches from key government officials, followed by presentations by various ministries and finally in the concluding session, half an hour is set aside for views from the industry, where one representative from each of the pharma bodies (OPPI, IPA, BDMA, IDMA, FICCI and the CII) will get to speak, which in effect means, each industry representative will get about 5 minutes! In case you are a bit confused on what this collection of letters from the English alphabet has to do with the pharma industry, OPPI stands for the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India, IPA - the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, BDMA - the Bulk Drug Manufacturers of India, IDMA - Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association, FICCI - Federation  of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and CII- the Confederation of Indian Industry.
    Apparently, there is more time and ear from the government that the industry needs, considering that it is largely miffed with the draft policy and the manner in which it has been drafted. It is being seen as one that will end up adding to its woes at a time when it is already reeling under severe regulatory and pricing pressures, both globally and in India. The impact on the industry growth rates is already showing with the rates slipping from 14 -15 per cent to less than 10 per cent in recent times.
    The most striking thing about the policy draft is, that it has good policy goals but gives little thought on the road map and challenges in meeting them.  Talk to any Indian pharmaceutical maker and there are number of questions on how the policy can actually support the industry and meet its larger goal of making low medicines available to the common man. "The policy is full of idealistic statements, paints a picture of industry as a villain, patients as poor people and the government as the lone saviour,"  says the head of a leading pharmaceutical company.  
    The one big announcement in the policy is this: "Formulations produced from indigenously produced API and its Intermediates (end to end indigenous production) be given preference in government procurements. Such formulations be taken out of price control for 5 years and the price control be linked to the indigenous content of the formulations." It is an excellent thought but given the current global challenges (as the industry is hit with price erosion in its biggest market -- the US, currency volatility in emerging markets and regulatory and pricing pressures in India) can it be expected to become cost competitive overnight? After all, just a few paragraphs earlier, the policy talks of: "Today overall more than 60 per cent of APIs are sourced from other countries and in some specific APIs the dependence is 80 to 90 per cent. The situation is more alarming in case of intermediates of stages prior to APIs and key starting materials (KSMs) which are the building blocks for the drugs. As a result, our competitiveness and capability in manufacturing some of these API has also dwindled."
    Part of the reason for this, industry says, is the policy draft itself: "Price cap on drugs forced the manufacturers, who had to maintain the minimum profit margins to obtain the cheapest raw material with the basic minimum efficacy/quality. This started impacting the indigenous API and Intermediates manufacturing which though much better in terms of quality assurance were nonetheless not price competitive."
    The country that took advantage of this was China and today it has build global scale in APIs. We all know how India suffered during Beijing Olympics in 2008 when many of the polluting API units had to be shut in China. "Now that we have a stand-off with China, it is good to talk about end-to-end manufacturing in India, why has nothing been done so far since 2015 - the so called year of the APIs in India, the industry has been seeking Chinese-style government backing with from the government and for large scale API manufacturing but it is falling on deaf ears," complains another pharma CEO, who does not want to be identified and is keen to attend the meeting on the 30th.
    When the policy draft talks about ensuring world class quality of drugs for domestic consumption and exports and about making essential drugs accessible at affordable prices to the masses, we don't get any mention of what is being done about ensuring the drug controllers across the country are equipped with enough manpower and machinery. A lot has been written about how most of the drug controllers are managing with half the staff that they ideally need to ensure effective inspection of pharmaceutical manufacturing sites and to check pharmacies.
    The policy, thankfully, acknowledges the problem and talks of third party inspections and self-certification also but there is more needed. All the more because the policy says: "Public procurement and dispensing of drugs will be of generic drugs in salt names. To facilitate this, the government will pursue the policy of sale of single ingredient drugs by their pharmacopeial name/salt name."
    The argument being that without focus on quality, there is risk of merely shifting control from a pharma company to a pharmacy - on which medicine to push into the market, which may again not be in the best interest of the end consumer.
    One aspect of the policy draft that may need serious study and discussion could be around the issue of ending 'loan licensing" (read loosely as third party manufacturing). To what extent, it could impact on job losses is still not clear and the manner in which it is to be done and the possible safeguards.  
    Which among these and other issues gets raised at the conference on the 30th in the limited time available, needs to be seen now. For, at the end of the day, everyone would want the policy to work and not end up as a collection of altruistic statements.

Adani to begin construction on Carmichael coal mine in Australia from October
  • India's mining giant Adani will start work on its 16.5 billion dollar Carmichael coal project in Australia in October and is expected to ship the first consignment in March 2020, the company has said after the controversy-hit project cleared two major legal hurdles.
    The group has for more than five years battled opposition from green groups who are opposed to any expansion of the port, saying it will cut into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The port is to be used for exporting coal to India.
    The group has so far invested Australian dollar 3.4 billion on the Abbot Point port and preparatory work for the Carmichael coal mine.
    The company decided to move forward on the project after it cleared two more legal hurdles last week with a Brisbane court dismissing appeals filed by environmentalists and a traditional landowner against the venture.
    "We will start construction of the project by October and first coal will come out in March 2020," Adani chairman Gautam Adani said yesterday.
    Adani Australia Country Head and CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj said this was yet another example of Adani finally being able to enact long-held plans to benefit Queensland state.
    The company has selected the first regional contractor to refurbish its existing exploration camp accommodation.
    "Engaging with regional contractors has enabled us to be flexible and quick to get some of our construction infrastructure already operational," Janakaraj said.
    Adani Australia's regional content initiatives will have long-term benefits for Queensland, particularly for contractors who help us meet our Indigenous content targets, he said.
    A further 245 rooms at the Carmichael camp are expected to come online by early September, along with extra facilities, project offices, utilities and communications.
    Earlier, Janakaraj had said the project would create "10,000 direct and indirect jobs", with a minimum 7.
    5 per cent of those going to traditional land owners.
    The project will also inject 22 billion dollars in royalties and charges into the state coffers to be reinvested back into the broader community.
    In June, Adani's board gave final investment approval for the proposed coal mine, which would be the largest in Australia.
    However, the Environmental Defenders Office said it would continue to examine the lawfulness of the mine.
    Environmental activists are concerned about the potential impacts to the Great Barrier Reef as the coal will be shipped through areas close to the national icon. There are also concerns the coal burned will contribute to climate change, which is the biggest threat to the reef.

GST effect: Niti Aayog foresees tax revenue crossing Rs 25 lakh crore by FY20
  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is likely to increase the government tax revenue 'over time' believes the Niti Aayog. In its three year action plan (2017-18 to 2019-20), the government think-tank believes due to a efficient tax system post-GST, tax revenue of the government is expected to grow (in a baseline scenario) to Rs 26.48 lakh crore by 2019-20 from Rs 17.03 lakh crore in 2016-17.
    It predicts a 14 per cent growth in 2017-18, followed by 16 per cent and 17 per cent in the next two financial years.
    In the report, Niti Aayog says: "The GST is designed as a more efficient tax system that will create a common Indian market, spur investment and economic growth. It will help expand tax base as well as lead to better tax compliance due to a simplified structure and inherent incentives for self-reporting. For these reasons, it is expected that the GST implementation would, over time, lead to an increase in aggregate government tax revenues."
    The report further says that "going forward, 2018-19 onwards, we expect the indirect tax buoyancy to increase as a result of GST implementation." It predicts the indirect tax buoyancy to grow from 1.06 per cent in 2017-18 to 1.11 per cent in 2018-19 and 1.17 per cent in 2019-20.
    However, it maintains that "this may be an underestimate, especially given that India has managed to achieve greater tax buoyancy historically during the period between 2004-05 and 2007-08. However, we choose to be conservative owing to the uncertainty around the precise date of the GST's implementation, and also because of the potential for a negative shock to indirect tax revenues arising from the global commodity prices."
    Tax buoyancy is ratio of growth rate in tax collection to growth rate in the Gross Value Addition (GVA). A tax buoyancy of greater than 1 means that the tax revenues increase at a faster rate than the nominal GVA.
    The report expects the long-term direct tax buoyancy to be 1.42 per cent.
    Meanwhile, the three-year action agenda expects the gross tax revenues to GDP ratio to increase to 12.3 per cent by 2019-20, compared to 11.2 per cent in 2016-17. The forecasted direct tax to GDP ratio is 5.8 per cent, 6.0 per cent and 6.3 per cent in 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 respectively, compared to 5.6 per cent in 2016-17. The indirect tax to GDP ratio is likely to rise to 5.7 per cent, 5.8 per cent and 5.9 per cent in 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20, respectively, compared to in 2016-17 is 5.6 per cent.

World's first diamond derivative exchange in India: Five things to know
  • The Indian Commodity Exchange Limited (ICEX), a Reliance ADAG-anchored platform will launch the world's first diamond futures exchange today . ICEX had earlier received approval from the market regulator Sebi to commence trading with diamond futures contracts.

    • Reliance Capital, part of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, is the largest investor in the exchange. MMTC is also backing the exchange.
    • ICEX, a screen-based online derivatives exchange for commodities, said it has completed a pre-launch mock trading session from August 7 to August 11. During the week-long mock sessions, ICEX saw a nationwide participation with 62 members and their clients taking part from 388 terminals.
    • Out of the 8,013 clients, who registered with the exchange, 5,119 clients participated for the mock trading. Total trades during the week stood at 26,64,208. The average daily turnover touched Rs 3,590 crore and the highest daily turnover reported was Rs 7,855 crore, a release issued by ICEX said.
    • The exchange has put in place necessary infrastructure to handle deposits, grading and sealing, vaulting and delivery of diamonds as part of its preparation for the formal launch of the diamond futures contracts.
    • The exchange will start trading in 1 carat/100 cent contracts and will eventually add  50 cent and 30 cent contracts.

General Awareness

Parliamentary panel under Renuka Chowdhury suggested GM crops only after biosafety, socio-economic evaluation

  • Parliamentary panel under Renuka Chowdhury suggested GM crops only after biosafety, socio-economic evaluation
    On 25th Aug 2017 according to the Parliamentary panel no Genetically Modified (GM) crop should be introduced in India unless the bio safety and socio- economic appeal is evaluated in a “transparent” process and an accountability regime is put in place. It was announced.
    Key Points:
    i.The report of the committee, chaired by Congress leader Renuka Chowdhurywas presented to the Rajya Sabha chairman.
    ii.This observations come after India’s GM crop regulator Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) recently recommended the commercial use of genetically modified mustard in a submission to the environment ministry.
    iii.The committee has also recommended the environment ministry should examine the impact of GM crops with all stakeholders to clear about all its probable effects before taking a call on the matter.
    iv.The department-related parliamentary standing committee on science and technology and environment and forest made its recommendations in its 301st report on GM crop and its impact on environment.
    v.GM mustard being a herbicide-tolerant GM organism (GMO), there is clear evidence on the adverse impacts of such GMOs elsewhere in the world.
    vi.The Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP), Delhi University, had submitted an application to the GEAC for the environmental release of GM mustard (Brassica juncea) hybrid DMH-11 and the use of parental events (varuna bn 3.6 and EH2 mod bs 2.99) for the development of a new generation of hybrids.
    vii.The environment ministry had received over 700 comments from various stakeholders, including farmers and researchers, on the Assessment of Food and Environmental Safety (AFES) report on GM Mustard.
    About GM Crops
    Genetically modified crops (GMCs, GM crops, or biotech crops) are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering methods.
    In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species.
    • Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, or environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, or resistance to chemical treatments (e.g. resistance to a herbicide), or improving the nutrient profile of the crop.
    • Examples in non-food crops include production of pharmaceutical agents, biofuels, and other industrially useful goods, as well as for bioremediation.

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