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    HomeWorld News"India's Strong WTO Stance Preserves Food Security and MSP Initiatives"

    “India’s Strong WTO Stance Preserves Food Security and MSP Initiatives”

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    In a resolute display of determination to protect its agricultural sector and safeguard the interests of its farmers, India emerged victorious at the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi (MC13), which concluded on March 2, 2024. Despite mounting pressure from developed nations to curtail domestic support for agriculture and ease market access for foreign farm produce, India stood its ground, ensuring the continuation of crucial schemes like food security and Minimum Support Price (MSP).

    Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, India demonstrated unwavering resolve in the face of international scrutiny and criticism. The conference, which extended beyond its scheduled closing date, witnessed intense negotiations, with India adamantly defending its stance on agricultural policies.

    India’s steadfastness drew both praise and criticism from global powers. European Commission Executive Vice President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis expressed disappointment over the lack of consensus on key issues like fisheries, agriculture, and broader reforms, singling out India for blame. However, India remained steadfast, prioritizing its national interests over international pressure.

    The roots of India’s firm stance trace back to decisions made nearly a decade ago. At the Ninth Ministerial Conference (MC9) in Bali in December 2013, India reluctantly agreed to a temporary provision, known as the “peace clause,” which provided legal protection for its MSP program until 2017. However, realizing the significance of these schemes for its farmers, India, under the Modi government, took decisive action to ensure their continuity.

    Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman played a pivotal role in advocating for India’s interests at the WTO. Her efforts culminated in the extension of the peace clause “in perpetuity” until a permanent solution is reached, shielding Indian farmers from potential harm. Despite subsequent ministerial meetings failing to resolve the issue, India’s farmers remain protected.

    The negotiations at MC13 underscored the importance of public stockholding (PSH) for food security, a critical aspect of India’s agricultural policies. The procurement of food grains at MSP ensures farmers receive fair compensation for their produce, while also fulfilling obligations to provide subsidized food items to millions of impoverished citizens.

    India’s resilience at the WTO Ministerial Conference reflects its evolving political and economic landscape. The Modi government’s proactive approach in defending the interests of its farmers sends a clear message that India will not compromise on matters vital to its agricultural sector and food security.

    Sources By Agencies

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