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Friday, March 05, 2021

20 ex-IFS officers back farm laws in open letter to WTO

“Obviously, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. The balance between market forces and food security/farmers’ welfare is a delicate one and it is the sovereign prerogative of governments to strike that balance,” stated the letter by 20 former IFS officers.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 5, 2021 1:28:39 am
Farmers at Singhu border. (Express File Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Observing that it is the sovereign prerogative of governments to strike the balance between market forces and food security or farmers’ welfare, a group of former IFS officers has hit out at “political groups and legislators” from the United States, United Kingdom and European Union for supporting the protests against the three farm laws.

In an open letter to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the officers said, “On the one hand, they want countries like India to liberalise their agriculture markets, allow the market forces to determine prices and limit subsidies. On the other hand, political groups and legislators from some of these countries express support for the farmers’ protests near Delhi and criticise the government for enacting farm laws that seek to empower farmers and bring in greater market efficiency.”

“Obviously, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. The balance between market forces and food security/farmers’ welfare is a delicate one and it is the sovereign prerogative of governments to strike that balance,” stated the letter by 20 former IFS officers.

“The farm laws passed by the government recently strike this delicate balance. The developed countries led by the US, EU and the Cairns Group have an opportunity to be on the right side of history here,” they wrote. “In the post-Covid future of sustainable agriculture and food security, there is an opportunity for the US, EU, UK along with 19 members of the Cairns Group to end the double standards that have skewed global production and markets.”

“India will gradually and incrementally allow the market to decide prices of agricultural produce, not because of the WTO or because the developed countries are saying so, but because it is in the fundamental interest of the Indian farmers and will enable the latter to double their income,” the letter stated.

The list of signatories includes Ajay Swarup, Ajit Kumar, Anil K Trigunayat, Anil Wadhwa, Ashok Kumar, Bhaswati Mukherjee, Deepa Wadhwa, J S Sapra, Laxmi Puri, Mohan Kumar, O P Gupta, Preeti Saran, Rajeev Bhatia, Satish Chand Mehta, Shyamla B Cowshik, Veena Sikhri, Vidya Sagar Verma, Virender Gupta, Vishnu Prakash and Yogesh Gupta.

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