General Awareness

April 04, 2017 @ 01:15 PM

April 04, 2017 @ 01:15 PM

K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai

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India's position on Food Security at WTO

MBA Aspirants are expected to know the happenings around globe which might affect Indian foreign policy, thus impacting all of us. Today, you will read on: India’s position on Food Security at WTO
At the ninth World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting, Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma announced that India could not accept WTO’s proposal on food security. 
As per the current draft prepared by WTO, developing countries will be given temporary relief of up to four years from the harsh provisions of the WTO law, which states that market distorting farm subsidies can only be limited to 10% of the aggregate production.
 As per the WTO guidelines, the implementation of India’s Food Security Act may come under market distorting subsidy because the act requires the government to purchase food grains at market price and sell it at below market price to two-thirds of the population in India. 
Developed countries are against the aforementioned arrangement because they claim that such structures may hurt the interest of their farmers. 
However, India rebutted this statement, claiming that international farmers will not be affected because the subsidised food grains are reserved for domestic consumption and not for export. 
In addition, Minister Anand Sharma said the policy on food security, put forth by WTO, is an attempt by developed countries to further their mercantilist ambitions at the expense of the poor and developing nations. 
India’s Food Security Act entitles over 80 crore people to 5kg of food grains per person per month at Rs 1-3 per kg, and to implement this law, India needs more than 60 million tonnes of food grains every year. 
According to Minister Anand Sharma, India, as a responsible nation, is committed to a constructive engagement to finding a lasting solution with regard to food security, and for that to happen, it is important to come up with interim solutions that will help India to reach its goal.
India believes that in order to improve the welfare of the poor, it is important for governments of developing countries to provide food subsidies. India is pinning hopes on the wide support from developing countries on this issue and it is clear that India would prefer “no deal” to a “bad deal” at the WTO. 
As the election draws near, the current government in India is all set to win the hearts and votes of farmers and the poor, and it will do everything within its capacity to prove to the people of India that it has the best interests of the population at heart. 
The aim of the WTO is to provide an open trading environment that is fair to both the developed and developing countries. However, the current draft prepared by WTO does not seem to favour the developing nations.
According to Minister Anand Sharma, agriculture sustains millions of farmers worldwide and food security is essential for billions of people around the world. Hence, WTO’s policies should cater to these populations instead of simply appeasing the rich. 
Delegates at the WTO meeting believe that this meeting could be the last chance to save WTO’s vision and the success of this meeting is largely dependent on India’s position on food security. 
India is firm on its stand and has confirmed to the media that it will do everything possible to improve the welfare of the poor by sticking to its Food Security Act. 
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