India has not yet made a decision to allow commercial cultivation of what would be its first GM food crop, mustard, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said

The claim in the Reuters article below that GM mustard “promises better farm yields” is a piece of nonsense. There’s no published evidence that this GM mustard variety yields better than non-GM mustard.

The lack of published scientific data on this GM mustard is a key reason why so many Indians are opposing it.

Javadekar says no decision on GM food after protests outside meeting venue

By Mayank Bhardwaj
Reuters, 5 Feb 2016

India has not yet made a decision to allow commercial cultivation of what would be its first genetically modified (GM) food crop, mustard, Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said after a meeting of experts to approve farming the crop that drew protesters.

Javadekar said the evaluation process would continue, indicating more consultations will happen before the country moves ahead with the use of a technology that promises better farm yields but sharply divides public opinion.

"The process is on and today's meeting was part of the process [to decide the fate of GM mustard]," Javadekar told Reuters on Friday, without elaborating.

About 200 placard-holding protesters shouted anti-GM slogans outside the building housing Javadekar's office.

The meeting, the third held to evaluate field trial data on GM mustard this year, had raised hopes among scientists that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government was keen to push technology to lift India's abysmal food productivity levels.

But public and political opposition to transgenic food remains strong amid fears they could compromise food safety and biodiversity.

Kapil Mishra, a minister in Delhi who met Javadekar, called it a win for those resisting GM crops.

"(A) small victory but a long battle ahead," he said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Anand Basu and Christian Schmollinger)