'Signing of WTO should not hamper national interests'

HYDERABAD, JULY 20. Speakers at a two-day seminar on `World Trade Organisation' have stated that having joined the international bandwagon by signing the WTO, India should do its best to see that this did not hamper national interests.

About 40 officials, administrators, planners, policy makers and agriculture scientists who participated in the seminar made several suggestions for preparing the Indian economy against the backdrop of the entry of international players into the domestic market. Issues like GATT, competitive edge of the Indian food industry and the WTO framework for Indian agriculture were discussed at the seminar organised by the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) here on July 18 and 19.

The Minister for Agriculture, Mr. V. Sobhanadreeswara Rao, who presided over the second day's session, said many people were getting excited about the new policy without knowing the elementary implications of the WTO agreement. He felt that a substantial portion of subsidies would continue even after implementation of the WTO agreement.

He said he had requested the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar, to convene a meeting with line departments of different States to discuss the WTO and its implications on the Indian economy with special reference to the agriculture sector.

Mr. A. K. Goel, Director General of MANAGE, Dr. K. H. Vedini, Programme Officer, Prof. Samar K. Datta of IIM, Ahmedabad, and Prof. Vijay Sardana of New Delhi, also addressed the gathering.