A cotton field
Monsanto to bear the brunt of India's new rules on sale of GM cotton seeds. [Representational Image]Wikimedia commons

The Indian government cut royalty-fees paid to Monsanto's Bt cottonseed by 70 percent, despite a warning by the company, reports Reuters.

Just a few days ago, the company, in a veiled threat, had said it would hold back new Bt technology and "re-evaluate" its position in India if the government implemented the proposals of the panel to cut royalty fees. The Indian Agriculture Ministry had set up a panel of experts, after local firms acting as licensee companies to sell GM seeds filed a complaint  that Monsato was charging high royalties. 

As soon as the government implemented the panel's recommendation, Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India Limited (MMBL), a Monsanto joint venture with India's Mahyco, filed a case in the Delhi court challenging the government ruling, reports Reuters.

Implementing another proposal by the panel, the government has also slashed the cottonseed prices and GM cottonseeds are now priced at Rs 800 for a packet of 400 gram, the report said.

The committee recommended cutting the price of Monsanto's BG-II cottonseed by about Rs 130 to Rs 800 a packet (450 gm) from Rs 930 last year, and to Rs 635 (from Rs 830) for BG-I for the upcoming kharif (monsoon) season. A bulk of the reduction comes in the form of a lower royalty,  Business Line had earlier reported.

India's Mahyco and U.S.-based Monsanto launched a GM cotton variety in India in 2002, helping the country become the world's top producer and second-largest exporter of the fibre, reported Reuters.

Monsanto India upset at royalty-cut proposal, hints at holding back new Bt technology