WTO's Bali package is damaging for India: Gene Campaign

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 15 2013, 02:33am hrs
Criticising the government stance at the recently held WTO talks in Bali, NGO Gene Campaign today said the outcome of the meeting is damaging for India.

"The tragedy of the Bali outcome is that we have fallen into a trap.... We have badly been taken for a ride in Bali," Suman Sahai, Chairperson of Gene Campaign, told reporters here.

Gene Campaign is dedicated to protecting genetic resources, farmers' rights and food and livelihood security.

During the five-day talks in Bali earlier this month, the WTO reached an agreement that can help boost global trade by USD 1 trillion, while taking on board concerns of countries like India to protect its food security scheme to provide subsidised grains to the poor.

"India's entire public stock holding programme is now under the international scrutiny. It is extremely damaging," she said.

Sahai said now India would have to share every details related with public stock-holding for food security with the Committee on Agriculture under the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Under the food security programme, the government procure foodgrain at minimum support price from farmers and sell at cheap rates to poor people.

India's Food Security Act entitles 82 crore people to 5 kg of foodgrains per person a month at Rs 1-3 per kg. The country needs 62 million tonnes foodgrains a year to implement the law.

"...tomorrow if you want to change your food security act, you have to take permission from the WTO...it has been a disastrous negotiations from that perspective," she added.

She said that India has also not gained much in the trade facilitation agreement.

"Facilitating trade means gaining more market access. Developed countries like the US would gain more in this. It will lead to increase in imports of agriculture products which would damage our farmers," Sahai said.