The big ticket summit between Prime Minister Modi and President Obama is round the corner. What is going to be the Agenda?
Narayana Murthy in the recent article in ET implored PM Modi to take up the Immigration and Visa issues faced by the IT industry with the US Legislators. Of course, this issue puts the Software industry’s USD 45 billion exports to US (no small amount) at risk, but maybe Mr. Murthy as a IT industry leader needs to look beyond body-driven services to show the way forward for the entire IT Industry.
Mainstream media reported about Defence and Shale gas exploration also being on top of the Agenda other than Immigration bills.
Is Agriculture is going to figure at all in the Agenda?
My answer would be a resounding YES!
Since forming the government, The Narendra Modi administration has lined up a string of major initiatives to boost the crucial agriculture sector bringing in innovative ideas, using technology and efficient use of ‘non-cultivable-land’. Other measures, include increasing investment in agri-infrastructure like setting up specialized agri-rail networks for perishable farm products, launching massive irrigation projects at village level and inter-linking of rivers.
He is looking at ways to convert farming into a profitable venture through adoption of agro-technology and scientific practices. Of course, there are issues to be addressed related to pricing, procurement of agri produce, crop insurance and post-harvest management.
Last time around, to strike the nuclear deal in 2006, India made several economy-wide compromises especially in the field of agriculture.
US–India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA) and the subsequent “Agriculture Dialogue”, were clearly attempts to further the interests of US corporate entities, especially agribusiness corporations, in Indian agriculture. . US-based corporations have also been pressurising India to adopt more restrictive intellectual property rights regulations, and to allow greater room for them in India’s retail trade. Behind these programmes were advocacy centres that help US exporters pursue opportunities, remove barriers to trade, so as many markets as possible are open to their products.
The agenda around Agriculture should focus on food security. In the recent WTO talks, India took a strong stance not to sacrifice the interests and food security of the poor and the farmers. The WTO clauses are fundamentally against India’s system of minimum support prices and direct procurement that sustain both its PDS as well as farming. PM Modi should continue the strong stance of India also during his talks with President Obama and then it will be a strong message to the rest of the world that he really means business.