Our population is growing and is expected to reach 150 crore by 2030.
The population size would have thus increased by five times since 1947.
The Ecological Footprint as measured by the demand made by each individual on natural resources is also increasing,while the biocapacity to meet the growing needs is shrinking.
In a democratic society like ours there is greater need for public and political understanding of the scientific facts underpinning events of great significance to the future of humankind, such as biodiversity loss and climate change.
Recent examples in relation to differences in perception and apprehension are in the areas of genetic engineering and nuclear energy.
While medical biotechnology has not generated fears about biosafety and environmental safety, food and agricultural biotechnology has evoked strong opposition.
An area in medical biotechnology which is controversial is cloning.
Generally, therapeutic cloning is acceptable, while reproductive cloning is not.
In the case of crop biotechnology, the fears relate to biosafety and environmental safety, adverse impact on biodiversity and long term impact on human and animal health.
The controversy relating to Bt brinjal and the moratorium on its release imposed by the then Minister for Environment and Forests are examples of the lack of confidence in the existing regulatory procedures.
To be continued ....