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World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement and India

- By Dr.C.Lakshmanan

The negative repercussion of the world trade organization (WTO) agreement on India farming community is well published and has become a major concern of wide spectrum of people and organizations in India. (Refer to February 2, 2001 cover story of FRONTLINE, a publication of The Hindu news paper).

The drastic erosion of the price of farm produce and the dumping of cheap agriculture commodities by other countries are allegedly undermining the welfare of Indian farmers who form over seventy percent of the nationís population.

Various theoretical solutions based on political leanings and financial considerations are offered by a wide spectra of Indian media, public and national intelligentia. However, a solution based on a sound and practical scientific approach has yet to be emerge.

Underlying all the problems is the inability of the country to compete with the other nations in pricing and quality of Indian farm produce and agriculture commodities. Most other nations can produce at lower cost than India, agriculture items traded in the international market.

An attempt is made here to evolve a scientific dimension for solving the WTO related negative impacts on Indian agriculture in general and the economics of the farming community in particular.

India has one of the lowest agriculture productivity or crop productions per acre in the world. This is responsible for most of the maladies associated with WTO considerations.

Adoption of modern agriculture production practices and putting tools of state-of- the-art production technologies in the hands of Indian farmers would make them competitive with the farmers of the other countries. This will open the way for Indian farmers to significantly reduce unit cost of agriculture produce, which is fundamental to successful competition in the world market.

The first step to wards attaining this goal would be to evolve a systematic approach in understanding the pros and cons of WTO agreement as it applies to the interest of India as a whole and the economics its states and their cropping systems in particular.

In order to achieve this, the formation of a higher-level adhoc commission consisting of agricultural professional experts with practical experience in the science of international production agriculture involving economics of cropping system and farming communities and professional consultants including international personnel capable of analyzing and providing remedial measures, is necessary.

This commission will conduct a time-bound in depth investigation of the problems of Indian agriculture through discussions with a wide spectrum of farmers, farm leader, agriculture scientists and economists to come up with a comprehensive report containing recommendations that will meet the challenges and provide solutions to problems posed by the  WTO agreements and their repercussions on Indian agriculture.

The recommendations of the adhoc committee will be studied by an appropriate policy making team of the government of India. A goal oriented time bound action plan will be developed in collaboration with the adhoc committee. The implementations of the plan will we carried out under the guidance of the adhoc committee by nominated technocrats well versed in cutting edge technologies in crop production, agriculture economics and international marketing.

Since the success of the plan depends on achieving the goal of each phase of the plan on a timely basis, Provisions for close and periodic reviews will be built into the implementation schedule of the plan.

 

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