Opinions and Perceptions of Various Stakeholders of the GMO Landscape in the Indian State of Maharashtra
"The issue of GMOs is probably the best example of the scientific community not communicating well, science has treated the public as a large lecture hall. That puts people to sleep."
‘Dietram Scheufele’ Professor in Science Communication, UWMadison.
The major scientific controversy of the 21st century is that of GM crops with about three dozen nations banning its cultivation. There are a number of studies by academicians in the western world to study the underlying reasons and beliefs for the public acceptance/rejection of the technology. Studies in India and other developing countries have been very few because of the comparatively later introduction of GMOs. A study of public opinions and awareness of GMO’s will give several insights into how old policies need to be changed and new policies to be implemented. It will also tell us to what extent cultural and social beliefs influence their opinions. In this study I begin how GM technology has its foundation in artificial selection which started millions of years ago and how has it reached its present technologically advanced state. I also discuss the politics and controversies surrounding GMOs in the western world as well as in India. I then discuss the various concerns surrounding GMOs and how cognitive science plays a role in reinforcing these concerns. Finally, I present the results obtained from a survey of a limited number of participants from various groups influencing the GMO landscape in Maharashtra and derive some key conclusions and recommendations based on the results.