Bt Cotton

Cotton in Maharashtra:
Maharashtra is the largest cotton-growing state in the country.
Nearly 40 lakh hectares or 35% of the cultivatable area is under cotton production.
Nearly 96% cotton-growing farmers in the state use BG-II Bt cotton seeds for cultivation.
Pink bollworm is a major pest in Maharashtra.
Pink Bollworm:
  • It is a small, thin, grey moth with fringed wings.
  • It is the most damaging of all pests that attack cotton crop in the country.
How it attacks?
  • The female moth lays eggs on cotton balls and larvae emerge only to destroy entire fields by chewing through the cotton lint to feed on seeds.
Time of attack:
  • The pest attacks the crop around 90 days after it is planted.
  • The first picking cycle of crop begins after 110 days, so the farmer has only 20 days to spot the pest and take preventive steps. It leaves the farmer with very little time to react and any delay can ruin the entire crop.
Bt Cotton:
  • Bt cotton is genetically modified cotton crop that expresses an insecticidal protein whose gene has been derived from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, commonly referred as Bt.
  • Many subspecies of Bacillus.thuringiensis are found in soils and are in general known to be toxic to various genera of insects but safe to other living organisms.
  • Bollgard-II Bt cotton – It is the stronger version of Bt hybrid variety that was introduced in 2010.
  • Two major Benefits of Bt cotton:-
    • It controls bollworm, thus protecting the yield.
    • It reduces the use of insecticides and pesticides, thus reducing the total cost of production by 40-45%.

Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR):

  • It is a central research institute established in 1976 at Maharashtra.
  • It promotes long term research efforts in cotton production and provide support and conduct applied research on cotton with the active involvement of State Universities.
Previously asked related question by UPSC in 2012:
Q. What are the reasons for the people’s resistance to the introduction of BT brinjal in India?
1. BT brinjal has been created by inserting a gene from a soil fungus into its genome.
2. the seeds of BT brinjal are terminator seeds and therefore, the farmers have to buy the
seeds before every season from the seed companies.
3. There is an apprehension that the consumption of BT brinjal may have adverse impact on health.
4. There is some concern that the introduction of BT brinjal may have adverse effect on the biodiversity.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
a) 1, 2 and 3 only
b) 2 and 3 only
c) 3 and 4 only
d) 1, 2, 3 and 4


Correct answer is: c
Section : Environment & Ecology