This paper looks at the governance of biotechnology and its implications for Indian agriculture. For the past four decades, India’s agricultural policy-making has focused almost exclusively on the issue of ensuring food security to the growing population of the country. This orientation in policy-making resulted in the adoption of the strategy to realise the objective of self-sufficiency in foodgrains production in the country. Consequently basic cereals have come to dominate the production structure of India’s agriculture. Although in recent years, India has emerged as a net exporter of the major cereals, the objective of meeting the objective of food security continues to remain the cornerstone of Indian agriculture.
The paper has been organised into the following sections. The first section indicates the priorities for the biotechnology sector in India. These priorities are counterpoised against the problem that Indian agriculture faces at the present juncture. The second section deals with the state of the agri-biotech sector. The developments in this sector will be analysed in light of the structure of Indian agriculture. The third section discusses the regulatory framework for transgenics that is currently in place. Besides bringing out its key features, this discussion also provides a critical assessment of the regulatory framework.
Background paper, Globalisation and the International Governance of Modern Biotechnology project, Brighton: IDS. 39 pp.