Grand claims are often made for GMO Bt cotton in India. Proponents point to increases in national cotton production, while Dr. Ramesh Chand of the Indian Government think tank Niti Aayog recently told BloombergQuint “there is no credible study to show any adverse impact of growing Bt cotton in the last 18 years in the country…”
The Chand interview occurred at a promotional event for a new book titled Socio Economic Impact Assessment of GM crops: Global Implications Based on Case Studies from India. Its publisher is the Delhi-based Research and Information System for developing countries (RIS), a policy research think tank in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
Dr. Chand and much of the RIS volume cite the presumed grand success of Bt cotton as a template for introducing GMO (and gene editing) technologies in other important Indian crops such as mustard and brinjal (eggplant).
The opinions of Niti Aayog and RIS representatives are highly significant given their deep links to Indian policy makers. Yet how Chand came to such positive conclusions is a great mystery to us.