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?Nautankis? to educate farmers

HOW DO you make an unlettered farmer understand the post-WTO implications on the price of his farm produce? Or, what does WTO mean to a farmer in, say, eastern Uttar Pradesh?

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 01:08 IST

HOW DO you make an unlettered farmer understand the post-WTO implications on the price of his farm produce? Or, what does WTO mean to a farmer in, say, eastern Uttar Pradesh?

Farmers, NGOs, government officials, industry representatives and UN officials feel that the language of ‘nukkad nataks’ and ‘nautankis’ will be the key to make farmers understand the complexities of post-WTO regime affecting their livelihood in the future. As ‘nukkad nataks’ and ‘nautankis’ were proposed as the ideal lingo for farmers at a consultative session on ‘Post-Hong Kong WTO Consultations’ here today, Anil K Singh, CEO of Network of Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (NEED) announced an ongoing project to educate farmers on WTO and its implication on their livelihood. “NEED is in the process of bringing out small booklets on WTO in local dialects for farmers,” he said.

While the more than 200 farmers, other than artisans, who attended the meet, had their own questions on WTO, the academicians and researchers focussed on the ‘sensitive list’ of products being prepared by the UNCTAD for the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The ‘sensitive list’ of products is being prepared to suggest higher import duty for a wide set of goods to protect domestic producers against cheap imports in the similar product category.

The products which came up for discussion at the consultative meet was all varieties of wheat, rice, textile and leather products demanded to be put on ‘sensitive list’. Silk saris from Benaras, now facing competition from cheap Chinese imports, was also proposed to be put on the list. The other major item that all felt needed special care was Bhadohi carpets.

“UNCTAD is preparing a comprehensive list of products from Uttar Pradesh which the manufacturers and farmers want to be put in the ‘sensitive list’,” Rashmi Banga, economist with UNCTAD told Hindustan Times.

Professor of Economics at the Giri Institute of Development Studies D M Diwakar said anything that puts the livelihood of farmers under strain would be put on the ‘sensitive list’.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 01:08 IST