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ITO on lines of WTO mooted

Written by: Staff
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Hyderabad, July 6 (UNI) National Commission on Farmers (NCF) Member Secretary Atul Sinha today said the Commission headed by noted farm scientist M S Swaminathan had recommended to the government to consider establishing an Indian Trade Organisation (ITO) on the lines of the WTO.

The NCF was for ''livilihood'' box for providing domestic agricultural support on the model of WTO's Blue, Green and Amber Boxes, Mr Sinha, who was here for state-level consultation to finalise the Commission's report told farmers.

On the lines of the WTO, the proposed ITO would specialise on trade affairs, he said adding that states should constitute an Agriculture Commission for a permanent dialogue with various farmers organisations regardomg farm-related issues.

National Fisheries Development Board would be set up shortly on the lines of the National Dairy Development Board to usher in ''blue revolution,'' Mr Sinha said.

All India Kisan Sabha National Vice-President K Nageswara Rao lamented that while subsidies to agriculture and dairy farming in developed countries, including the US and European Union, were increasing manifolds, successive Governments in India were cutting down subsidies to the farm sector allegedly under pressure from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Mr Sinha explained that since agriculture was a vast subject, the NCF would deal with this aspect in its fifth report.

He informed the farmers that the Commission's final report with focus on improving farmers income as against more concentration on farm productivity made by Commissions in the past, would be submitted in early October to the Centre for deliberation by the National Development Council for evolving consensus among Chief Ministers before adoption by Parliament.

Suggesting hiking of custom duties on imported agricultural products when it was disadvantageous to the country and reduing them when it was advantageous, Agriculture Price Commission Former Member Y V Krishna Rao demanded that India should not sign any more on the ''dotted lines'' as it had allegedly done during the Uraguay round of talks.

''No agreement is always better than a bad agreement,'' he argued and demanded reversal of the ''suicidal neo-liberal economic policies'' pursued since 1991 allegedly at the dictates of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Representatives of various farmers organisation, including the Federation of Farmers Association and CPI(M)-led Andhra Pradesh Rytu Sangham deposed before the Commission.

UNI SM DKS ND1944

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