Mother of Ironies

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Recently, Speaker of Indian Parliament, Shri Om Birla has written to the Chairperson of Inter-Parliamentary Union regarding the recent debate that took place in the British House of Commons. The request was a little unconventional, Mr. Birla had requested that other Parliaments should not discuss the laws passed by other nations. This very request has a self- defeating logic in the sense that – whether a speaker of Nation ‘A’ can take an objection on topic discussed in Parliament of Nation ‘B’ which was a legal reform of Nation ‘A.’ Escaping the legal intricacies, one word which suits this request is unconventional and childish.

The other way of looking at this request is, that this debate about farm laws which is taking place globally especially in developed nations actually has a broad silver lining. Before explaining the silver lining let us discuss where exactly the silver lining is placed. India has been in a major struggle in WTO since early 2000s regarding its protectionist practices especially in the agricultural sector. The commanding document in this field is ‘Agreement on Agriculture’ which is based on three pillars. They are: domestic support, market access, and export subsidies. Now in all these three sectors the Indian Agricultural legislation is far away from the expected standards of openness and concept of free trade.

These farm legislations in some or the other ways bring it near the expected standards of openness. However the status quo and the adamant demand of Minimum Price Support further embarrasses India in the global debate. Now, here comes the silver lining, the nations which vehemently opposed extensions of special concessions to India have been supporting the farmers in India directly or indirectly. This further exposes the hypocrisy of such nations, where they complain of India’s ongoing subsidies on one hand and support the Farmer protests which demand for status quo i.e. ongoing subsidies on the other. This being a very diplomatically tricky point, the main agenda remains. Long term farmer benefits. This can only be achieved through politically disastrous but sane reforms.

Editor – Bharat Bhagya Vidhata

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