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Biotech firms, biotech politics: negotiating GMOs in India

By Peter Newell

Abstract

This article identifies and explains the ways in which firms involved in the debate about the role of biotechnology in Indian agriculture have sought to advance their interests. It argues that the public positions of larger biotech and agro-chemical companies, seed enterprises, and newer start-up firms and the associations to which they belong relate to the differences in their underlying corporate strategies. The extent to which these firms are involved in primary research, export their products, or require protection for their products helps to determine their political affiliations to the leading industry bodies that are active on biotechnology issues. In turn, each of these associations has been shown to have distinct patterns of interaction with particular government agencies involved in the regulation of biotechnology products, as well as differing degrees of contact with global industry coalitions. Through a combination of material influences, in most cases high levels of institutional access, and in a context in which claims about the benefits of biotechnology are echoed and repeated in influential media, industry has played an important role in the evolving regulatory regime. These forms of leverage apply to some firms more than others and smaller actors in the vast seed sector in India are barely involved directly in the current debate about India's “gene revolution.” Currently, the policy agenda in Delhi appears to be far more influenced by a fairly close-knit policy network of biotech entrepreneurs from larger multinationals and successful start-up firms with good national and global connections

Publisher: SAGE Publications
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:sro.sussex.ac.uk:12634
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