Impose QRs to prevent surge in agri imports: MS

Hyderabad, Jan 4 | Updated: Jan 5 2006, 05:31am hrs
Noted agri-scientist, MS Swaminathan has suggested re-imposition of quantitative restrictions (QRs) with a view to check a possible surge in imports of farm commodities. He also suggested the use of available options under WTO regime like designation of special products (SPs), use of special safeguard mechanism (SSM) and tariff protection.

India has already phased out QRs on commodities and this would require a re-negotiations at WTO if Dr Swaminathans suggestion is to be implemented.

He said that all these measures including life saving support to farmers are part of the livelihood security box proposed by the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) of which he is the chairman. NCF, he said, has proposed all these measures in its third report which was submitted to the government on December 29, 2005.

He said that NCF has also proposed that India begin giving subsidies under Blue and Green Boxes apart from the Amber Box.

NCF has proposed setting up of a virtual organisation by the name of Indian Trade Organisation (ITO) to protect the farmers in the year of globalisation of trade. Explaining the set-up of the proposed ITO, Dr Swaminathan said that it would have two wings one for monitoring agro commodities traded in domestic markets and the other for exportable commodities.

The idea is to render services and advice based on global and domestic situations.The Union commerce ministry will take up global issues affecting Indian farmers at an appropriate forum, including the WTO.