The government is well within its rights to regulate the price of Bt cotton seeds

41211-otclitzumc-1473618148Kavitha Kuruganti writes:

A piece by environmental activist Vandana Shiva on why the government was right in attempting to control the price of genetically-modified seeds, published in last month, was quickly followed by one by Girish Shahane, who countered her arguments, saying the activist had “chosen fear-mongering and denialism over serious engagement”, and another by Prashant Reddy, who attempted to fact-check Shiva’s piece.

These pieces have been useful to further fuel the current debate on the subject in India. The debate seems to range from intellectual property rights, to regulation of commercial seed trade, to the impact of Bt cotton, and the phenomenon of farmer suicides.

However, both Shahane and Reddy failed to appreciate the main point that Shiva had brought up around intellectual property rights on life forms and seeds in particular. The authors of the two counterpoints only rationalise their arguments in the current legal understanding and frameworks that exist. However, that does not mean that Shiva and others cannot bring in a new, discourse challenging the current regime.

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