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India to soon announce its stand on Genetically Modified Mustard

Modi government to allow Genetically Modified Mustard to be cultivated in India

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Mustard plantations (Pixabay)

NEW DELHI, 3 September,2016: The Government of India will soon announce its decision about permitting the commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) mustard – which could be its first transgenic food crop and “ideology” will not be a factor here, said a minister.

Mustard seeds (Pixabay)
Mustard seeds (Pixabay)

Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave said India would also come up with other GM food as its population increases and arable land shrinks.

He also says, India will know the decision about their view on GM Mustard pretty soon.

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He points out the fact that, Indian scientists are good researchers and will do their job well. This way Indian money will stay in the country itself.

Obstacles

Indian population and BJP who object to reliance on technology developed mainly by Western countries, stand their ground about their opposition to lab-altered food.

Mustard flower (Pixabay)
Mustard flower (Pixabay)

This could throw a spanner in the works for GM mustard, which recently got technical approval from a panel of government and independent experts after multiple reviews of crop trial data.

“You must have different parameters for what you eat and what you only come in contact with, like cotton,” Dave said. “(But) eventually it is the doctor who gives the medicine. Ideology has no connection with this.”

Dave, a river conservationist and amateur pilot, said the government’s aim is to make regulation on GM crops foolproof and that people’s views will be taken into consideration before taking any final decision.

After some farmer groups complained about high rates, the Modi government is at crossroads with Monsanto over how much the world’s biggest seed company can charge for the GM cotton seeds it supplies.

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India has also proposed that Monsanto, which dominates India’s GM cotton seed market, share its technology with local firms. Monsanto has said it is contemplating leaving India, its biggest market outside the Americas, and recently pulled an application to sell next-generation cotton seeds, Reuters found out.

Dave brushed aside concerns that Monsanto’s withdrawal of the cotton variety will hurt Indian farmers as existing seeds become vulnerable to pests.

“Indian scientists are capable enough to meet the requirement of Indian farmers, in every crop,” Dave reaffirms his faith in Indian scientists.

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Facebook Selects Six Projects from India for AI Ethics Research

Facebook announced the Ethics in AI research awards in June with a regional focus of India

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Facebook, India, AI
The winners, declared on Friday, included the top two submissions in each category. Pixabay

To encourage research on Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics, Facebook has selected six projects from India that will focus on three key areas – governance, cultural diversity and operationalising ethics.

The winners, declared on Friday, included the top two submissions in each category.

Facebook announced the Ethics in AI research awards in June with a regional focus of India. The proposed budget should be within Rs 10,00,000 to Rs 20,00,000, Facebook said.

In the operationalising ethics category, the two selected projects include “Patient-Centric Frameworks for the Evaluation of AI-Enabled Medical Tests” that has Amit Sethi of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT Bombay) as the principal investigator and “Targeted Bias in Indian Media Outlets” that has Animesh Mukherjee of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur) as the principal investigator.

Facebook, India, AI
To encourage research on Artificial Intelligence (AI) ethics, Facebook has selected six projects from India that will focus on three key areas – governance, cultural diversity and operationalising ethics. Pixabay

One of the research projects picked for the governance category, “Ethical Implications of Delegating Decision-making Journey to AI Systems”, has Rahul De from the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM Bangalore)

The other project selected for the governance category, “A‘Public Law of Information’ for India”, has Sudhir Krishnaswamy from the Centre for Law and Policy Research as its principal investigator.

“Mitigating Bias in Face Recognition for Vast Regional Diversity in India” which has Richa Singh from Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology-Delhi (IIIT-Delhi) as principal investigator is one of the projects selected in the cultural diversity category.

Also Read- Rather than Thinking about Future, Working People Need to Live in Present and Avoid Mulling Too Much

The other project is “Regulatory Impact Assessment of the National AI Market Place of India” which has Varadharajan Sridhar from the International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIIT-Bangalore) as principal investigator. (IANS)