GM crops will make edible oil cheaper: Govt.

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Environment, Agriculture and Science and Technology.

Topic: Introduction of GM crops

Context: Centre stressed the benefits of GM Mustard in Supreme Court against a PIL filed to stop commercial release of DMH-11.


  • Indigenous GM mustard meant to make edible oil cheaper, reduce imports and ensures increased yield per hectare of 25% to 30%
  • The govt argued that it has the duty to protect fundamental right of people to access basic food consumed every day at a cheaper price.

Background: DMH-11:

  • DMH-11 is a hybrid variant of mustard developed by cross between two varieties: Varuna and Early Heera-2.
  • Barnase and Barstar are two genes from two soil bacterium introduced to enable the crossing (naturally not possible)
  • Hence it is a transgenic crop.


  • DMH-11 has 28% higher yields.
  • Reduction in imports. Currently, 54% of the total edible oil demand is met through imports.
  • GM mustard plants may dissuade bees from pollinating the plant and this could have knock-off environmental catastrophes.
  • GM mustard hasn’t been evaluated as a herbicide tolerant crop, though it is tolerant to a herbicide called glufosinate-ammonium, posing potential risks.


  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under Ministry of Environment is India’s apex regulator of genetically modified plants and food products.
  • The final decision on commercial release is taken by MoEFCC.
  • Though GEAC has cleared the environmental release of GM mustard, the process stalled after a case was lodged in the Supreme Court.

Other GM crops allowed for cultivation in India:

  • BT cotton remains the only GM crop allowed to be cultivated in India.
  • Bt Brinjal, the first transgenic food crop, was cleared by the GEAC in 2009 but was put on hold by the then-UPA government.
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