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Bt Cotton: Govt Withdraws Compulsory Licence Rules After Backlash

The government has withdrawn the licensing amid concerns over foreign investment in agri-research being hurt.

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Amid opposition from the crop biotech industry, the government on Monday withdrew a notification capping royalty for new genetically modified (GM) traits.

The decision to seek public comments was taken after facing severe criticism from the biotech industry and farm experts, saying the move would hurt foreign investment in agri-research and discourage new technology introduction in India.

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In an official statement, the government said the notification issued on 18 May will be put in the public domain for 90 days for comments and suggestions from stakeholders.

We are withdrawing the notification but not rolling back the decision. We are issuing the same as draft notification to take public comments.
Sanjeev Balyan, Minister of State for Agriculture 

Biotech industry body ABLE-AG, which has members like Monsanto, Mahyco, Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer and Bayer BioScience, had opposed the government’s notification. They had said the decision would be a “huge blow” to innovators in the agri-biotech industry.

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The Agriculture Ministry had issued a notification, capping royalty for the new GM traits at 10 percent of the maximum sale price of Bt cotton seeds for the first five years. After the five-year period, royalty would reduce by 10 percent of initial value every year.

And if the GM technology loses its efficacy, the technology provider would not be eligible for any royalty.

The ‘Licensing and Formats for GM Technology Agreement Guidelines, 2016’ comes two months after the Centre had fixed the maximum selling price of Bt cotton seed packets at Rs 800 per packet for bollgard (BG)-II version of Bt cotton hybrid, including Rs 49 for the trait value. The seed price was fixed as per the Cotton Seeds Price Control Order issued in December 2015.

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