Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Illustration: Moneycontrol)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate India’s first-ever non-GM (genetically modified) herbicide-tolerant rice varieties to the nation on September 28.
The two new varieties of rice -- Pusa Basmati 1979 and Pusa Basmati 1985 – have been developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), reported The Indian Express.
According to the report, both Pusa Basmati 1979 and 1985 have been bred by crossing existing popular varieties -- Pusa 1121 and Pusa 1509, respectively — with ‘Robin’. The latter is a mutant line derived from an upland drought-tolerant rice variety -- Nagina 22. It was identified for Imazethapyr-tolerance by S Robin, a rice breeder from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore, it said.
These varieties can be directly seeded and significantly save water and labour compared to conventional transplanting, the report stated.
These types of rice contain a mutated acetolactate synthase (ALS) gene, which allows farmers to spray Imazethapyr, a broad-spectrum herbicide, to control weeds, said the report. This cut the need of nurseries where paddy seeds are first raised into young plants, before being uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the main field, it said.
The PM will dedicate 35 crop varieties with special traits, including these rice varieties, to the nation on at 11 am via video conferencing, in a pan India programme organised at all ICAR Institutes, State and Central Agricultural Universities and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) on the day.
During the programme, the Prime Minister will also dedicate to the nation the newly constructed campus of the National Institute of Biotic Stress Management Raipur, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement.
On the occasion, the PM will also distribute Green Campus Award to Agricultural Universities, as well as interact with farmers who use innovative methods and address the gathering.
Union Minister of Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel will be present on the occasion, the PMO said.