Will The Wto Torpedo India’s Massive Inexpensive Nutrient Programme?

By bringing inwards an Ordinance on the nutrient safety bill, the UPA-II has sure enough bypassed the ask for a cumbersome in addition to noisy parliamentary debate. But in that location however hangs a bigger hurdle that needs to live on crossed to brand the dream programme a reality. With the U.S. hardening its seat on the G-33 proposal to exempt public stock holding programmes in addition to is unwilling to extend the subsidy bound for addressing the nutrition needs of the hungry in addition to malnourished, the National Food Security neb could run into serious problems.

President  Pranab Mukherjee signed into constabulary the National Food Security neb on July 5, 2013, 2 days afterward the Union Cabinet decided to number on Ordinance. 

While Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has gone on tape proverb in that location tin dismiss live on no compromise on feeding the pitiable in addition to hungry, the U.S.A. WTO Ambassador Michael Punke has launched a blistering assault on the developing countries proposal, singling out Bharat equally “creating a massive novel loophole for potentially unlimited trade-distorting subsidies.” Calling it equally a stride backward, he said “The novel loophole, moreover, volition live on available alone to a few emerging economies amongst the cash to role it. Other developing countries volition accrue no create goodness – in addition to inwards fact volition pay for the consequences.”

The controversial proposal moved yesteryear G-33 countries, which is a grouping of countries including China, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Pakistan in addition to others that came together to protect nutrient security, livelihoods in addition to rural evolution inwards the Doha Development Agenda, seeks amendments inwards the revised Doha draft modalities for agriculture. Knowing that procurement of wheat in addition to rice nether the National Food Security neb volition ascension manifold, Bharat is wanting that the enhanced subsidy outgo for nutrient procurement from small-scale farmers equally non beingness seen equally a trade-distorting subsidy support. These subsidies, required to come across the nutrient safety needs of the hungry population, should live on exterior the maximum bound of ‘Aggregate Measurement of Support’ (AMS) that each province has to adhere to. The nutrient the developing countries purchase at a minimum back upwardly cost from ‘low-income, resources pitiable farmers’ should non live on computed inwards the AMS limit. At the same time, Bharat wants the ‘de-minimis’ requirement for world stock asset – which at introduce stands at 10 per cent of the full production of wheat in addition to rice that tin dismiss live on procured for coming together the nutritional needs of the nutrient insecure population – live on too suitably amended.

Despite Anand Sharma’s behind the scene discussions amongst the outgoing WTO Chief Pascal Lamy in addition to the Director General-designate Roberto Carvalho de Azevedo of Brazil, the U.S.A. continues to harden its stand. It has warned that if India’s novel proposal on the tabular array are non rejected “it volition hurtle the WTO talks to irrelevance”.

Interestingly, India’s proposals are closely linked amongst the developed country’s proposal for an understanding on merchandise facilitation. Trade facilitation genuinely agency setting upwardly the required infrastructure at the ports, in addition to making available appropriate carry in addition to communication facilities that would arrive easier for the merchandise in addition to occupation organisation to operate. In other words, the developed countries are genuinely pushing the developing countries to invest on facilitating the merchandise interests of its corporations in addition to agribusiness giants. This agreement, which has to a greater extent than or less 600 contentious clauses or what is called equally brackets inwards WTO language, volition choose serious implications for the domestic agriculture sector inwards developing countries. Unfortunately, Anand Sharma is willing to move yesteryear the merchandise facilitation understanding without fifty-fifty assessing the negative fallout it volition choose yesteryear acerbating the prevailing agrarian crisis in addition to nutrient safety requirements.

Nevertheless, it is of import to sympathise why the G-33 proposal that calls for appropriate measures to ensure nutrient in addition to nutritional safety for the pitiable in addition to needy, is so important. First, allow us live on really clear that the AMS calculations were done keeping the prevailing prices inwards 1986-88. Since then, in addition to specially afterward the 2007 global nutrient crisis, the farm commodity prices choose seen a quantum jump. The 1986-88 reference prices, which was a current when prices were really low, no longer holds truthful in addition to choose lost all its relevance. Secondly, the merchandise distorting subsidies that the US/EU has been providing all these years choose non been done away with. In fact, the developed countries choose expressed jubilation over the fact that the massive agricultural subsidies that OECD provides for agriculture, amongst lxxx per cent going to large corporations in addition to rich farmers, are non on the negotiating tabular array at the forthcoming Bali Ministerial inwards Dec 2013. 

On the other hand, inwards an analysis presented yesteryear Jacques Berthelot of France, the angry burst of the U.S.A. Ambassador to WTO appears completely unjustified. Accordingly, the average nutrient help that inwards 2010 that Bharat gave to its 475 1000000 people (65 1000000 families below poverty describe addition 10 1000000 inwards a higher house poverty line) to come across their nutrient safety needs was to the melody of 58 kg/per person. Comparatively, the U.S.A. provides 385kg/person to its 65 1000000 people, who received nutrient help nether several programmes similar the nutrient coupons, tike nutrition programme etc.

Moreover, the procurement of wheat in addition to rice from resources pitiable farmers yesteryear Bharat does non hateful the grains are beingness dumped inwards the international marketplace seat thereby distorting trade. In reality, Jacques Berthelot has computed that the depression global prices of wheat in addition to rice inwards 1986-88 – the reference current – were because of massive dumping yesteryear both US/EU. Given that 53.2 per cent of the global exports of wheat came from US/EU, the business office dumping played inwards depressing the global prices becomes quite obvious. The reference current of 1986-88 against which the administered prices of 2012-13 are beingness evaluated thence becomes meaningless in addition to absurd.

But still, at the WTO negotiations, it is the powerfulness of the developed countries that choose so far controlled the directions in addition to the final result of the negotiations. If the US/EU continues to oppose the proposal floated yesteryear Bharat through the G-33 countries, Bharat volition honour it hard to implement the National Food Security bill. And allow us non forget, Bharat has no provisions of introducing an Ordinance this fourth dimension to bypass the WTO. #

Source: भारतीय खाद्य सुरक्षा कानून में अंतरराष्ट्रीय अड़ंगे, BBC Hindi. July 6, 2013. http://bbc.in/1aLEB4H