Mandya, Karnataka, January 17, 2006

Consumer Rights, Education & Awareness Trust (CREAT), the project partner in Karnataka, in association with the Women’s Wing of the Karnataka State Farmers Association (KRRS) and National Alliance of Peoples Movement (NAPM) organised the Third Outreach Meeting under the GRANITE project on January 17, 2006 at Kannada Sahithya Parishat Bhavan, Mandya district, Karnataka. More than 90 participants (mostly women) participated in the meeting.


The objective of the meeting was to gather people’s perceptions on globalisation and World Trade Organisation (WTO) issues, with special emphasis on the impact of globalisation on agriculture and textiles & clothing (T&C) sectors.

Sunanda Jayaram, President, Women’s Wing of Karnataka State Farmers’ Association briefed the participants about GRANITE project and its objectives. She made a presentation on the proposed Seed Bill 2005 explaining its effects on farmers and the agricultural community

Y G Muralidharan, Programme Coordinator, GRANITE Karnataka
He informed the gathering about WTO and globalisation and their effects on India. He termed globalisation as both an opportunity and a challenge for India, particularly for farmers and artisans explaining the effect of WTO on Karnataka and how the state can meet its challenges. Further, he informed that CUTS and CREAT are exploring the perception of the people about WTO and what changes are required to be brought about in the WTO agreements. Inputs gathered in the meeting would be documented by CUTS to form a basis for India’s position in the WTO, he added.

Open Discussion

Kempe Gowda, President, Citizens’ Forum, Mandya
The effect of WTO and globalisation has been devastating on local artisans. The poor communities who depended on their traditional art and crafts are hit hard. They were earning their livelihood through family traditions. With globalisation, these native crafts have died out and the artisans are left with no source of income.

Hombaiah, Former President, Jilla Panchayat, Mandya
People are finding it difficult to take care of their health due to steep increase in prices of medicines and medical services. Globalisation has affected prices of medicines and has also given a deathblow to native medicines. Earlier, a number of medicinal plants were grown in and around the village fields, farms and in the backyards. But due to globalisation all these plants have become extinct. Villagers are forced to spend money and purchase costly medicines even for minor ailments.

Krishna Prasad, Social activist, Mandya
Globalisation has affected the media and thereby the cultural values of the people. The unrestricted flow of information through television programmes and advertisements has made even the illiterate villagers too consumerist. In the name of access to information only entertainment is provided and the western culture is imported.

Muddegowda, Farmer, Maddur
The dumping of agricultural products produced in foreign countries has taken away the ability of the local farmers to face competition. On the one hand, the local farmers are not getting proper support from the Government in terms of new methods of agriculture, information about new techniques, marketing support, etc. On the other hand, the subsidies given to farmers in developed countries are growing thereby putting local farmers at a disadvantage. This lacuna in the WTO should be set right to save the local farmers. The Minimum Support Price (MSP) should also be increased to enable the farmers earn a minimum profit.

Jayasheela, Vikasana Women’s Association, Maddur
Globalisation has affected women to a large extent. Women involved in local traditional occupations have lost their jobs due to decreasing demand for local products. They are not encouraged to adapt to new methods. They do not have access to information, techniques, etc., to face competition in the market.

Nagaraj, Farmer, Mandya
As a result of globalisation and pro-WTO steps taken by the Government, the local farmers are unable to get minimum price for their produce. The MSP is almost stagnant. Similarly, the prices of crops like Ragi and Paddy have remained almost same for the past ten years whereas the input costs have increased. Globalisation has not helped the farmer to get better price or better productivity.

Soubhagya, Vimochana Women’s Association, Mandya
Despite the ill effects of globalisation and WTO, there is hardly any awareness among the women to counter them. Though some women talk about the ill effects of WTO they are unable to counter them. Hence, it is essential that organisations like CREAT/CUTS educate and train women to argue WTO issues before the Government.

Meenakshi, Silk Grower, Mandya
Though Karnataka is the largest producer of silk in the country, the condition of silk growers, weavers and cocoon rearers is very bad. The quality of eggs supplied by the Government is very poor. Secondly, the onslaught of silk imported from China is threatening the local silk industry. The WTO agreement should take into account the interests of silk industry in Karnataka.

Sadhana, Self Help Group, Maddur
Globalisation not only has affected livelihoods of the local people but has also robbed the people of their creativity. The wave of information technology has taken away the individual initiative and creativity. Now, children and students are not interested in traditional music and arts. They are hooked to computer games, CDs and TV. India’s rich culture, music, art and architecture are dying due to globalisation.

Rajashekarappa, Ramanand, Krishnappa and Sudeep, Maddur
As a result of globalisation and WTO a number of local sports and games are vanishing. In India, every festival is also the time for playing a particular game. But globalisation has cut the roots of these games and festivals.