BT Cotton

BT Cotton

This article deals with ‘BT Cotton  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

What is BT (Bacillus Thuringeinsis) ?

  • BT is gram positive soil dwelling bacterium
  • Commonly used as natural pesticide
  • Bt refers to Bacillus Thuringienesis Soil Bacterium from which the genes are introduced in to the native cotton and brinjal varieties. BT gene  produce a protein in the cotton crop that is toxic to the boll worms and stem borers (pests) 
  • This can be introduced in any crop like Cotton (Bt Cotton) , Brinjal (Bt Brinjal) etc.

 Bt Cotton

Positive Effects

  • Government gave approval to grow Bt Cotton in 2002 & as a result India witnessed an astounding revolution in the cotton sector, not seen for another crop.
    • Cotton production saw 178% increase
    • India emerged as largest global players in cotton. India is presently largest producer of cotton (surpassing China)


  • Issue is,  increasing farmer suicides in Karnataka, MP and Vidharbha region.  Farmers are using expensive GM seeds in drought prone region
  • There are other problems too –
    • High input cost of seeds,
    • Genetic erosion of local varieties,
    • farmer’s dependence on private seed companies whose sole aim is profit maximisation.
  • Recently, Cotton plantations in various parts of the country have been hit due to infestation of Pink Bollworm (PBW).  Reason :
    • Absence of crop rotation
    • Not growing 20-30% normal cotton along with BT Cotton

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