The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The grant of US patent to the American Rice-Tec Company for their three strains of rice, poses a serious threat to our world famous Basmati rice.
Basmati rice is a great achievement of the farmers of our country and the country is proud of it. But some propagate that the patent given to the US company will not affect our exports of Basmati.
When US patenting authorities, have given the rights to Rice Tec company, to label their rice as "similar to or superior to those of good quality Basmati rice" it is a figment of imagination to say that our Basmati exports will not be affected.
The Vajpayee government failed to challenge the US company's claims.
Under the provisions of `geographical indicators', under the WTO if a product is declared to be region specific, then similar products from other regions cannot get protection, in the region. Basmati rice is specific to India and Pakistan. The Vajpayee government failed to invoke this provision to protect Basmati.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands of the government of India to take necessary urgent steps to protect the exclusive status of Basmati, to enable it to face the new threat.