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Summary: Jairam Ramesh Committee Report on DNA Technology Regulation Bill, 2019

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, headed by Congress’ Jairam Ramesh, has flagged that the DNA Technology Bill 2019 could be misused "to target certain sections of society". The Committee, which submitted its report to Parliament on February 1, also suggested changes to the composition of the DNA Regulatory Board, and flagged concerns with having databases of DNA profiles of suspects and undertrials, apart from several making several other recommendations. The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019, aims to establish the identity of victims, offenders, undertrials, missing people, and unknown dead people, as well as of suspects and undertrials. It proposes a DNA Regulatory Board to address concerns around quality, security, and accuracy of data. The Board will advise the central and state governments on labs and data banks, lay down guidelines, grant accreditation, and establish national and regional DNA data banks to house DNA profiles. Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu had referred the bill to the Standing Committee of Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change in October 2019. A similar bill was passed in Lok Sabha in January 2018 but could not clear Rajya Sabha, and then lapsed with the dissolution of the previous Lok Sabha. Department of Biotechnology's notes on the bill According to the Department of Biotechnology’s notes to the Committee, DNA fingerprinting is already in practice and the evidence has been used in criminal court cases “with success”. The department cited NCRB figures that 40,000 unidentified bodies, and 100,00 children…

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