The World Trade Organization (WTO) has recently reached an agreement on Indian agriculture that has far-reaching consequences. The decision, made at the 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, marks the end of a long-standing impasse between developed and developing countries over food security.
At the center of the agreement is India`s public distribution system, which provides subsidized food to millions of its citizens. Under the previous rules, India was allowed to provide subsidies up to 10% of the value of the crops, based on the 1986-88 prices. However, newer developing countries like China, Indonesia and Thailand have been allowed to provide subsidies up to 10% of the value of production based on the prices of the current year.
This disparity became a point of contention between India and advanced nations like the US, Canada and the EU, who argued that India`s subsidies were distorting the global market, leading to overproduction and trade imbalances. India, on the other hand, argued that its subsidies were necessary to ensure food security for its large population of poor and marginalized citizens.
The new agreement allows India to provide subsidies up to 10% of the value of production, based on the current year`s prices, bringing it on par with other developing countries. Moreover, it allows India to stockpile food grains without being subject to penalties, which was a major sticking point in the previous talks.
The agreement has been hailed as a significant victory for India as it allows the country to continue its efforts to ensure food security for its citizens. The Indian government has also emphasized that the agreement will not lead to any increase in subsidies and that it will continue to comply with other WTO rules.
While the agreement has been welcomed by developing nations, it has faced criticism from developed nations, who argue that it has weakened the rules-based trading system. However, proponents of the agreement argue that it strikes a balance between the needs of developing nations for food security and the concerns of developed nations for a free and fair trading system.
In conclusion, the WTO agreement on Indian agriculture is a landmark decision that represents a breakthrough in the long-standing impasse over food security. It ensures that India can continue to provide subsidies to its farmers while also complying with WTO rules. While some have criticized the agreement, it represents a significant step towards a more equitable and sustainable global trading system.