Experts suggest reforms in domestic market

November 17, 2005, Hindustan Times

In an effort to give a thrust to the agriculture sector in the State, the CUTS International has emphasised on fiscal policies and domestic market in the state. At a seminar on ‘Grassroots Research and Networking in India on Trade and Economics (GRANITE)’ held in Jaipur on November 14-15, Narsimha Reddy of Centre for Handloom Information and Policy Advocacy, Hyderabad said that handloom sector has not been able to face global competition.

He said that handloom sector has lost its terms in space and time due to competition from other sectors. Several legislative measures enacted in the past have not been able to do justice to this labour-intensive sector whose market, resources and funds have been shared by powerloom sector, he said.

Vidhya Sagar of Institute of Development Studies said that the agricultural policies pursued in Rajasthan during the nineties have been detrimental to the state’s economy from the point of view of environment, employment and agricultural diversification.

While Milind Murugkar of Agri policy researcher, Maharashtra laid emphasis on reforms in Price Support Policy and Public Distribution System (PDS). He said that introduction of food stamps would increase the purchasing power of the poor. He said that a shift from subsidies to public investment is necessary.

The experts stressed on foreign direct investment in agriculture sector that could rise the employment opportunities in the State.

Debasish Ray Chaudhari of SASHA Kolkata said that the handloom sector is the second largest employer in the country. It was highlighted that with adequate institutional support in terms of credit, research, management and market development as well as change in the mindsets of the government officials the sector can undo the setback suffered.

Delivering the valedictory session Prof. V.S. Vyas, IDS Jaipur stressed on the areas in which reform is needed the most. These were fiscal policies, domestic market, supportive sectors (institutions providing services of credit, marketing and extension).

The role of civil society organisations was identified to be that of reforming institutions, protesting and employing organisations was identified to be that of reforming institutions, protesting the employing innovative ways.

The two day seminar was attended by multi-stakeholders from agriculture and textile sectors, including eight partner state of the project GRANITE- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.