Steps needed to avert food crisis in India: experts

Friday, 27 June 2008, 04:34 Hrs
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New Delhi: India, relatively less affected by volatility in global food prices, may face a crisis if precautionary measures are not undertaken, experts says.

Jai Dev Aggarwal, chairman and director of the Indian Institute of Finance, said the World Trade Organisation (WTO) had by and large failed to provide free flow of goods and services and also had been unsuccessful in bringing down the prices - instead, there has been a surge in food prices globally.

"Internationalisation of food prices has also created a problem because the US, a developed country, has the per capita income of $45,000 while in India it is $200. We should have a national policy to care of global price volatility and see how we can manage with the situation," Aggrawal remarked.

He was speaking at an interactive video-conferencing session between India and Russia titled "Food inflation: The international aspect" organised by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti here Thursday.

He said India was less affected by the food crisis than many other countries. "We don't see a problem. We can live with it. But the fluctuating global prices cannot stay on for long. There is a huge degree of volatility, WTO could not do much about it. That is a matter of concern," he asserted.

"We were importing wheat for the last two years. This year the production has gone up by four million tonnes. India has been exporting rice and now we have controlled the supplies. We are also taking steps by cutting export duties," said Aggarwal, and added that the Indian government was aware of the global situation.

India's Planning Commission member Abhijet Sen said Russia will have to go through stringent conditions as a late joiner to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"But Russia has access to the western market and once it is part of the WTO, the artificial barriers there will be removed and it will benefit it," said Sen.
Source: IANS
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