GEAC (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Governance)

News-CRUX-10     12th January 2024        

Context: The Supreme Court questioned the government on whether the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) had considered the reports of the court-appointed Technical Experts Committee (TEC) on the biosafety of transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11 before approving it for environmental release.

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)

  • About: Constituted under the "Rules for the Manufacture, Use/Import/Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro Organisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells (Rules, 1989)".
  • Framed under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Under Ministry Jurisdiction: Operates under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • Composition

oChaired by the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary of MoEF&CC.

oCo-chaired by a representative from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

oCurrently, comprises 24 members meeting monthly to review applications.

oMembership includes experts from various ministries and institutions like ICAR, ICMR, CCMB, etc.

  • Functions

oResponsible for appraising activities involving large-scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants with an environmental perspective.

oAppraises proposals related to the release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products, including experimental field trials.

oMonitors the use, import, and export of genetically modified (GM) organisms and crops.

oEmpowered to prohibit the manufacture and use of certain hazardous recombinants for commercial purposes.