Here's the gist of what appears to be a well-deserved slap from a minister:
Virtually trashing the report by six top academies which favoured “limited release” of genetically modified brinjal, the Environment Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh today said it does not give a larger scientific view and focused only on findings o f a scientist.
Endorsing views of an advocacy group that alleged that the report was plagiarised, Mr Ramesh said, “I had asked the academics to give the broader scientific view. But it is nothing else but the views of one scientist (Anand Kumar) which I had already kno wn much before the moratorium was placed on the release of the Bt brinjal.”
Clearly unhappy over the report which he had sought from the country’s leading academic institutes, the Minister said, “I do not want the six top science academics to tell me Anand Kumar’s view. I already know that.”
Countercurrents.org already has a polemical piece from Devinder Sharma. You may not agree with the tone, but you at least know the man behind that
that diatribe those harsh words. But you can't say the same thing about the report that went in the name of the six Indian academies of science, engineering and agriculture -- the report does not mention the authors anywhere. Indeed, as Sharma says, the disclosures should also include information on (potential) conflicts of interest of the authors (much like the disclosures that appear right at the beginning of any article in PLoS Medicine and other such journals -- see this one, for example):
... It will be interesting to know the names of the scientists who contributed to the report, and the research projects they have undertaken in the past along with the funding support.
Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh also gives the nation's top scientists a lesson in how to write a report:
“It doesn’t appear to be the product of rigorous scientific evaluation. There is not a single citation or reference in the report. So there is no way to know how the authors reached their conclusions. The report doesn’t even say who all were consulted in this exercise,” Ramesh said.
And, yes, we are witnessing that rare moment when a lot of people are going to agree with a minister-politician in his dispute with scientists over a serious policy issue in which science has a strong say.
This is a new low for India's science academies.
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