Expressing concern over WTO’s permissible food subsidy limit norms, CPI(M) today said India should not give in to the “unjust pressure” of the world body and western powers and continue to press for “fundamental changes” in its rules at the next meet in Bali in December.
As per the WTO norms, a developing nation can provide food subsidy of up to 10 per cent of the total farm output.
While sources have indicated India is likely to agree for a four-year “peace clause”, which will provide immunity against penalty for breaching the food subsidy cap, the party’s polit bureau in a statement today said the clause should be rejected by India.
“The polit bureau demands that India should not give in to this unjust pressure from the WTO secretariat and the EU and the US and continue to press for fundamental changes in the WTO rules so that food subsidy programme are not designated as illegal,” it said.
It said the WTO rules will not only jeopardise present efforts in India to ensure food security for millions of hungry people, but will also make it impossible to further strengthen food security measures.
The G-33 nations, a group of emerging countries including India, are demanding amendment in the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) in order to implement the food security plan without attracting any penalty even after breaching the minimum subsidy cap.
The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference will be held in Bali from December 3-6.
Talking to reporters yesterday, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma had said the government would endeavour to work out a solution in the Bali meet to protect interest of the country’s farmers and poor.
Sharma said India has raised the fundamental issue pertaining to public stock holding and domestic food security programme and underscored that this is of critical importance for India, especially in the backdrop of the National Food Security Act.
Developed countries like the US and Canada have raised concerns over India’s food security legislation at the WTO. They have asked India to explain the effect of the law on global stocks and commodity prices.(dnaindia)