India's food security schemes fully protected, say officials
India's food security programmes will not be adversely impacted even as the WTO members failed to find a permanent solution to the food stockholding issue at the ministerial meeting which is closing on Wednesday, officials said.
Even after hectic parleys, the 164-member World Trade Organisation (WTO) failed to reach a common ground for resolving the food security issue as the US refused to engage, threatening a successful conclusion of the four-day conference.
The officials said that India's food security programmes are "fully protected because we insisted in 2014 that the Peace Clause, which was initially for a period of four years, is given for perpetuity till a satisfactory and permanent solution is agreed upon ... Our Minimum Support Price (MSP) is absolutely protected."
The officials expressed disappointment over the failure of the member nations to reach an agreement on public food stockholding issue even on the fourth and final day of the ministerial conference.
The Indian team led by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, in cooperation with the G33 grouping, has been pitching hard for permanent solution to food security issue as it was crucial for livelihood of 800 million people across the globe.
India has expressed "deep disappointment" over the decision of the US to block permanent solution to the public food stockholding issue.
"India is surprised and deeply disappointed that despite an overwhelming majority of members reiterating it, a major member country has reneged on a commitment made two years ago to deliver a solution of critical importance for addressing hunger in some of the poorest countries of the world," an official statement said yesterday.
Under the global trade norms, a WTO member country's food subsidy bill should not breach the limit of 10 per cent of the value of production based on the reference price of 1986-88.
Apprehending that full implementation of food security programme may result in breach of the WTO cap, India has been seeking amendments in the formula to calculate the food subsidy cap.
As an interim measure, the WTO members at the Bali ministerial meeting in December 2013 had agreed to put in place a mechanism popularly called the Peace Clause and had committed to negotiate an agreement for permanent solution at the 11th ministerial meeting at Buenos Aires.
India had also said that non-fulfilment of a mandate flowing from a ministerial decision at Nairobi could "irreversibly" damage the credibility of the WTO.
Under the Peace Clause, WTO members agreed to refrain from challenging any breach in prescribe ceiling by a developing nation at the dispute settlement forum of the WTO.
This Peace Clause will be there till a permanent solution is found to the food stockpiling issue.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
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