June 13, 2008

Mr Rajiv Dikshit is of the opinion that the WTO agreement benefits only the West and adversely affects 126 developing countries.

Forced agreement He said, in 1991, the Indian economy had completely collapsed, and the country had to pledge its gold reserves to raise funds. At that time, as India badly needed assistance from the World Bank and other international financial institutions, the developed countries, through the World Bank, pressured India to sign the WTO agreement for this assistance. “Thereby, with no other way, India was forced to sign the WTO agreement,” he added.
Stating that the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement, which came into effect from January 1, 2005, would be having an adverse impact on different sectors in the country, especially in agriculture, Azaadi Bachao Andolan national President Rajiv Dikshit has demanded the Union government to come out of the WTO. In a press release here on Friday, Mr Dikshit said, awareness campaigns were being taken up regarding this among the people. “Also, the issue was being discussed with the MLAs in the State Assemblies, and MPs in the Parliament,” he added. He said, there was a need for the elected representatives to understand that India would lose too much through the WTO agreement. Moreover, according to the WTO agreement, the State would be losing their legislative powers, and all would be concentrated with the Centre, he said.

However now, he said, the financial condition of the country had improved a lot, and it would improve further. Now, keeping the interests of the people in mind, India can easily come out of the WTO agreement. “Even though there would be a few disadvantages, the benefits would be tremendous. Thereby, it was the right time for India to come out of the WTO,” he added. Mr Dikshit said, meetings were being held with all the MLAs and MPs to raise the issue in the Assemblies and Parliament, and discuss the issue thread-bare. “The MPs should see to it that the country comes out of the WTO agreement, otherwise the very survival of the country would be at stake,” he added. Benefits only West Mr Dikshit said, the WTO agreement was benefiting only the developed countries, but at the cost of the developing countries. “While WTO was an advantage to around 24 developed countries, it was a disadvantage to nearly 126 developing countries," he said. He said, the major impact of he WTO would now be felt in sectors like agriculture, textiles, services, and TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights). According to the WTO agreement, he said, the complete subsidy now being provided to the agriculture sector in the country had to be completely removed in the next four years. Dwelling upon its impact, Mr Dikshit said, the prices of fertilisers and pesticides would sky-rocket. Such would be the impact that the farmers would literally not be able to buy these fertilisers and pesticides, he added. “Considering this, the farmers were now being told to shift to bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides. This would also help in protecting the land,” he said. Now, the Indian Patent Act has been disbanded. A direct impact of this would be that everything in India had to be patented. “And once patented, it would continue for the next 20 years. This would give an opportunity for the developed country to literally loot India,” he added. Moreover, the service sectors have also been thrown open. Now, we will be having foreign firms in all the service sectors, he said. Due to the opening of the textile sector, cheap textile products from outside would be dumped in India, killing the prices here, he pointed out.This was already having an impact on the agriculture sector, as the prices of seeds being sold by the multi-nationals here had already started sky-rocketing, he said. As there would be free import of cheap farm produce, the prices of farm produce in the local markets would fall drastically, he added.
· Azadi Bachao Andolan

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