Government setting up biotechnology regulator

The government is in the process of setting up a regulatory authority for biotechnology products and processes. The department of biotechnology under the ministry of science and technology will be the nodal agency for setting up a National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority (NBRA).

The regulatory authority, which will oversee all matters related to the biotechnology sector, will be set up through an Act of Parliament.

The consultative committee, set up by the government to suggest a road map for setting up a regulatory authority for biotechnology, has submitted a draft plan as well as a draft bill for setting up the NBRA.

Both the draft documents were put in public domain for review and comments, Prithviraj Chavan, minister of state for science and technology and earth sciences (independent charge), PMO, personnel, public grievances and pensions and parliamentary affairs, informed the Rajya Sabha.

The consultative group had held several meetings with concerned stakeholders, including farmers and consumers' organisations, industry, legal experts, the media and academia/scientists from research institutions/universities. State governments were also consulted for their feedback, the minister stated.

The government, meanwhile, had also constituted an interdisciplinary and inter-ministerial advisory committee to oversee and advise on all matters related to drafting, reviewing the comments of experts and stakeholders as well as preparing final documents.

The cabinet has now completed the governmental process of inter-ministerial consultation for obtaining necessary approvals for the bill as per parliamentary procedure, the minister added.