GM REGULATION IN INDIA
A major contribution of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India has been to set up, in collaboration with other government departments, a framework for the evaluation and eventual clearance of transgenic crops for field cultivation. The release of transgenic crops is governed by the Indian Environment Protection Act (EPA) – 1986 which came into force from May 1986. The act provides a framework for the protection and improvement of environment. Later, the rules and regulations for the manufacture, use, import, export and storage of hazardous microorganisms, genetically engineered organisms or cells were notified under EPA 1986 on 5th December 1989. A mechanism based on interaction between committees and different departments of Government of India has been set up. Such materials will have to meet with the approval of the following Committees: Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBSC), Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) and Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) (Fig. 7.1). Under the EPA 1986, the GEAC examines from the viewpoint of environmental safety and issues clearance or the release of genetically engineered organisms/transgenic crops and products into the environment. The GEAC also grants permits to conduct experimental and large-scale field trials which are beyond the limit of 20 acres. In case of transgenic crops, applicants are also required to seek clearance from the Ministry of Agriculture.