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India's RisksDemocratizing the Management of Threats to Environment, Health, and Values$
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Raphaelle Moor and M.V. Rajeev Gowda

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199450459

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199450459.001.0001

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Science and Politics in Indian GM Crop Regulation

Science and Politics in Indian GM Crop Regulation

A U-turn Down a Blind Alley

(p.205) 9 Science and Politics in Indian GM Crop Regulation
India's Risks

Erik Millstone

Oxford University Press

What is the appropriate division of labour between ‘experts’ and policymakers? The Indian Ministry of Environment’s public consultation process in the Bt brinjal case very openly brought these issues to a head in India. This chapter begins by outlining the technocratic and Red Book models of science in regulatory policymaking, and rejects these in favour of a ‘co-dynamic’ framework. This framework is then used to explore the assessment of the possible risks from GM brinjal; exposing the non-scientific and unacknowledged policy assumptions and judgements underlying Mahyco’s assessment of risks. These assumptions determined the framing of the questions, what and how much evidence was sufficient, and the criteria for interpreting the evidence about Bt brinjal. Criticizing the technocratic framework underlying the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill (BRAI Bill), this chapter concludes that it is time that policy stakeholders recognize that their scientific assessments are framed by ‘up-stream’ policy judgements and assumptions.

Keywords:   Regulation, technological risks, science and policy, technocratic framework, Bt brinjal, BRAI Bill, scientific risk assessments

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