Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, August 25, 2001

Front Page | National | Southern States | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Science & Tech | Miscellaneous | Features | Classifieds | Employment | Index | Home

National | Previous | Next

'Inequities in WTO treaty will hit farmers'

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, AUG. 24. The removal of Quantitative Restrictions (QRs) on import of farm commodities may totally destabilise Indian agriculture unless remedial measures are taken by the Government, the Parliamentary Standing Committee has noted in its report on Agriculture Policy.

The report, which was tabled in Parliament on Thursday, observed that the inequitable nature of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Treaty was working to the detriment of farmers, while the newly- framed Agriculture Policy was silent on how this aspect would be dealt with.

The committee suggested that a panel be set up with representation from the Ministries of Commerce, Agriculture, Finance, State and farmers' organisations which can take prompt decisions to impose duties in the event of large imports so that there was no time gap between actual imports and the imposition of duties.

It also suggested that a body be formed to bring awareness among farmers on different aspects of the proposed Plant Varieties Act through a sui generis legislation in line with India's obligations under the TRIPS agreement. The committee, chaired by Mr. S.S. Palanimanickam, appreciated the stepping up of public investment to check the declining trend of investment in the agricultural sector. It supported the proposal for formulating a time-bound strategy for rationalisation and transparent pricing of inputs to encourage judicious use of inputs and to generate resources for the sector.

It noted that inputs subsidy reforms would be pursued and a combination of price and institutional reforms would be initiated with a view to cutting down costs. The committee was informed that about Rs. 30,000 crores of resources had been given towards subsidies on fertiliser, irrigation and power as against the public sector investment of Rs. 7000 crores in agriculture.

The committee, however, suggested that the entire subsidy mechanism on inputs be reviewed so as to identify the break-up of the amount of subsidy actually going to farmers and those going to industry which were producing agriculture inputs. At the same time, it noted that the Pricing Policy for inputs needed to be examined critically for removing all existing anomalies.

Send this article to Friends by E-Mail


Section  : National
Previous : 'Violence has no place in fight for Khalistan'
Next     : Bail granted to Ketan Parekh

Front Page | National | Southern States | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Science & Tech | Miscellaneous | Features | Classifieds | Employment | Index | Home

Copyrights © 2001 The Hindu

Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu