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India Pressed for Clarity on PMGKAY Extension and Rice Export Ban at WTO Meeting

Rice export ban

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has raised substantial inquiries regarding India's recent decisions on the extension of the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna (PMGKAY) and the ban on non-basmati rice exports. As the three-day WTO Committee on Agriculture (CoA) convenes, several member nations are urging India to elucidate the implications of these measures on its WTO commitments.

A consortium of countries, comprising the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and New Zealand, has tabled a multitude of queries directed at India. The primary focus revolves around seeking comprehensive explanations regarding the compatibility of the five-year extension of the PMGKAY scheme with WTO regulations. Additionally, there's a call for transparent reasoning guiding India's embargo on the export of non-basmati rice.

India's PMGKAY, a flagship program aimed at providing free food grains to marginalized communities, has garnered attention due to its prolonged extension. Critics emphasize the necessity for India to evaluate the potential impact of this extension on its commitments within the WTO framework. While acknowledging the significance of social welfare programs, member nations are keen on understanding the trade implications and compliance aspects concerning such extensions.

Simultaneously, the recent imposition of a ban on non-basmati rice exports has raised eyebrows among WTO members. India's decision has prompted concerns regarding market dynamics, global trade patterns, and adherence to WTO regulations on export restrictions.

The forthcoming CoA meeting provides a platform for India to address these concerns and furnish detailed insights into the rationale behind the PMGKAY extension and the rice export ban. India's responses will likely play a pivotal role in determining the compatibility of these measures with its WTO commitments and in assuaging the concerns of other member nations.

India, a significant player in global trade, holds the spotlight at the WTO as it navigates the intricate balance between domestic welfare initiatives and international trade obligations. The discussions at the CoA meeting are anticipated to shed light on the complexities surrounding these recent policy maneuvers and their ramifications within the global trade landscape.


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