After India banned wheat export to ensure food security in the country, the western world has been crying hoarse uninterruptedly. Now, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is making a scene by getting on its knees and begging in front of India. Reportedly, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday begged India to reconsider its ban on wheat exports.
Kristalina said, “I do have an appreciation for the fact that India needs to feed nearly 1.35 billion people and I do have appreciation for the heatwave that has reduced agricultural productivity, but I would beg India to reconsider as soon as possible because the more countries step into export restrictions, the more others would be tempted to do so and we would end up as a global community less equipped to deal with the crisis,”
The IMF chief playing the sympathy card also said, “Wheat is one of the areas where Ukraine and Russia have been dramatically impacted by the war so depending on how much India can export and where it directs its exports, it could have significant impact especially if exports go to the countries most severely impacted like Egypt or Lebanon where what we see is not only risk of hunger but risk of social unrest and impact on global stability.”
India’s wheat export ban won’t affect global markets: Piyush Goyal
However, on the same platform in Davos, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal busting the propaganda remarked that India’s export amounted to less than 1 per cent of the global supply and the ban shouldn’t affect the global trade.
India wheat exports are less than 1% of world trade and our export regulation should not affect global markets. We continue to allow exports to vulnerable countries and neighbors. pic.twitter.com/N61929BNt5
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) May 25, 2022
Contrary to the claims made by IMF suggesting that India has been somewhat unsympathetic in the case of a crisis – New Delhi has exported wheat worth $177 million and $ 473 million in March and April this year respectively, despite facing challenges of low wheat production as a result of an extreme heat wave.
WTO is still not relaxing its rules
Meanwhile, even in this state of deprivation, IMF, WTO and supposedly developed western nations are not ready to stop browbeating their former colonies. Up until now, they have shown no intent of relaxing WTO norms intended to stop developing countries from achieving their full potential.
Currently, there are multitudes of issues which the WTO needs to sort out with India. The primary issue among them is farm subsidies. According to current WTO norms, India cannot provide farm subsidies beyond 10 % of the total monetary value of the food produced. So, if India produces food worth $10 billion, it cannot provide a subsidy worth more than $1 billion.
The WTO says that it provides unfair advantages to the countries, distorting trade. However, this kind of logic is only true for printing money. Restricting farm subsidies only inhibit member countries from effective crop production. The countries which have decided to follow this cap can never do justice to their indigenous farmers.
Read More: It’s time for India to show the WTO that humility is the prime virtue of a beggar
Beg in front of WTO, IMF; not India
Last month, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in a public virtual address had remarked that India was prepared to feed the world, only if the WTO allowed it.
The PM said, “A new crisis has emerged where food security has been threatened. Yesterday (Monday), I had a discussion with the US President and I suggested that if the WTO gives permission, India can supply food grains to the world as soon as tomorrow. We already have enough food for our people but our farmers seem to have made arrangements to feed the world. But we have to live by the world’s rules so I don’t know (if WTO will permit).”
Read More: The real reason why India temporarily stopped exporting wheat
The western world is demanding India to release the wheat but at the same time, it is not willing to concede the ground and remove the unfair rules. Instead of begging in front of India, IMF should consider persuading WTO to fix the kinks and allow India to support its farmers wholeheartedly. Only then, the Modi government will open its silos for the wheat-craving world.
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