THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 06 November 2019 (The case Bayer is fighting over glyphosate-based herbicides)

The case Bayer is fighting over glyphosate-based herbicides

Mains Paper 3: Science and Tech
Prelims level : Glyphosate
Mains level : Uses of Glyphosate


  • German pharma company Bayer is facing thousands of lawsuits over one of its products.
  • 42,700 plaintiffs in the US are blaming Bayer’s herbicides for their cancer, up from 18,400 plaintiffs in July this year.
  • It should have warned of the alleged cancer risks.

What are these herbicides?

  • The herbicides are based on a compound called glyphosate. First developed in 1970, glyphosate is scientifically N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine under the IUPAC system of nomenclature. It is applied to the leaves of plants to kill weeds. It is widely used in India, too.
  • According to a 2016 bulletin published by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the weedkiller in India goes by various brand names, including Roundup, Glycel, and Brake.
  • Describing the herbicide’s reach in the country, it says, “Glyphosate was highly accepted by the tea planters in the past two decades.
  • It has a very good market size in the tea sector of West Bengal and Assam.
  • The consumption of glyphosate is highest in Maharas(h)tra as it is becoming a key herbicide in sugarcane, maize and many fruit crops including mango, banana, grapes, pomegranate and citrus.”

Why it is a worry

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Which among the following factors led to the advent of Portuguese in India?
1. Demand for oriental goods in Europe
2. Growth of the Turkish Navy
3. Invention and wide use of the mariner's compass

Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: D
Mains Questions:

Q.1) How Glyphosate has been formed? Why it is a worry for farmers?

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