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Updated as on April 6, 2000

Action Research in Community Health and Rural Development, Mangrol, Gujarat

Liberty Institute, New Delhi,

invite media persons and others interested to participate in the

Media Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in India

Date: April 12, 2000
Venue: Jacranda Conference Hall - 1, at the Convention Centre in the India Habitat Centre complex, Lodi Road Institutional Area, New Delhi-110 003.

Resource Persons | Aim | Objectves | Background | Issues | Participants | Confirmation


9.00 - 9.30 AM - Registration

9.30 - 10.00 AM - Introduction, and structure of the workshop

10.00 - 10.45 AM - Science of biotechnology and relevance in India

Resource persons: Dr. C. S. Prakash, Dr. Kailash Bansal, Chengal Reddy
10.45 - 11.00 TEA

11.00 - 11.45 AM  Impact of technology, role of IPR, rights of farmers

Resource persons: Dr. Bibek Debroy, Dr. Anil Gupta, Dr. Sudha Mysore
11.45 - 1.00 PM  Group discussions

1.00 - 2.00 PM  LUNCH

2.00 - 2.45  Group discussions

2.45 - 3.30  Politics of International trade, technology, and protests

Resource persons: Dr. Anil Patel, Dr. Suman Sahai, Pramit Pal Choudhuri
3.30 - 3.45  TEA

3.45 - 4.45  Group discussions

4.45 - 5.30  Evaluation & Conclusion

Resource Persons:

Among the panel of scientists, economists and policy experts, we have
  • Prof. C. S. Prakash of Tuskgee University U. S.A.,
  • Prof. Anil Gupta of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad,
  • Dr. Bibek Debroy of Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies,
  • Dr. Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign, New Delhi,
  • Dr. Sudha Mysore, scientist, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Bangalore,
  • Chengal Reddy, farmers' leader from Andhra Pradesh,
  • Dr. Anil Patel, Action Research in Community Health and Rural Development, Mangrol, Gujarat,
  • Pramit Palchoudhuri of The Telegraph newspaper
  • Dr. Kailash Bansal, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, ,  and others.


The workshop seeks to place the new agricultural technologies, in particular biotechnology in proper perspective, i.e. to examine the potentials and concerns of this technology in Indian agriculture. By providing a forum to media professionals to discuss and share their thoughts and concerns with scientists, economists and policy experts, we hope to improve the quality of public discourse.

A suggested list of questions that may be covered is available here. Your comments and suggestions are most welcome


  • To discuss the basic science and economic relevance of biotechnology
  • To address the scientific and societal concerns in the application of biotechnology to Indian agriculture
  • To address the myths and fears of food biotechnology
  • To place the issue in the real world context of poverty, strain on environmental resources, demand for food, impact on consumers and globalisation


Indian agriculture has increased almost five-fold since Independence to about 200 million tonnes. Agricultural commodities constitute a substantial portion of our exports. Yet, the face of rural India is characterised by poverty, and low productivity. The gains of green revolution have not spread evenly, and growth rate in food production has been slowing in recent years. There is an urgent need to explore new technologies and policies and to ensure equitable economic and social gains from such development. Media plays a critical role in public awareness of new technologies, and to guide its appropriate development. Thus, an interaction of biotechnology experts and media professionals is an important first step in ensuring that new technologies are developed and deployed in a responsible manner resulting in greater public good and consumer acceptance. And, informed discussion and debate are the essence of open and democratic societies. Improvement in the quality of discourse in the media is a critical component of this process.


About 25-30 media persons, journalists and opinion writers from English and regional language publications and the electronic media, with an interest in agriculture, science and technology or environmental issues. Freelance writers and commentators with a similar background are also welcome.


  • On confirmation participants will be provided a package of reading material for easy reference.
  • Where necessary outstation participants will be provided airfare to and from Delhi, and accommodation in Delhi.


Kindly confirm before 8 March 2000, to help us prepare the logistics. Please write to
Liberty Institute
J-259, Saket (2nd Floor)
New Delhi 110 017
Tel: 91-11 - 6512441 / 6528244
Fax: 91-11- 6527868 / 6856992



Julian Simon Centre
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