Tag Archives: WTO

Trudeau and his pro-Khalistan politics: India should crack the whip

Lalit Shastri

Extending support to the farmers agitating for complete withdrawal of new farm laws introduced by the Modi Government in India, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had expressed concern and said his country will “be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest”.

How peaceful the protest was got demonstrated by the Republic Day violence in Delhi that was fanned by Khalistani elements, mainly in Canada, US and Pakistan.

It is an entirely a different matter that Trudeau later talked to Prime Minister Modi over phone to seek COVID vaccines from India. This could be a good diplomatic move to build bridges but his kind of politics that relies on support from Khalistan groups is only jeopardising global peace.

At the June 2020 Canada-led Ottawa Group meeting on World Trade Organization (WTO) reform and COVID-19, it was underscored by Canada that more than ever now was the time to work closely together with international trading partners because Canadians depend on open and flowing trade. It was emphasised that priorities in this direction must include greater transparency on export restrictions, besides “predictable and open trade in agriculture”.

A WTO joint statement from countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, European Union, China, Japan, United Kingdom, New Zealand and United States, which was released on the request of Canada on 22 April 2020, opposed agriculture export restrictions and emphasised that countries should refrain from implementing unjustified trade barriers on agriculture and agri-food products and key agricultural production inputs.

The Joint statement reiterated the need to ensure that supply chains remain open and connected so that international markets can continue to function in supporting the movement of agricultural products and agriculture inputs, which plays an instrumental role in avoiding food shortages and ensuring global food security.

Further the WTO declaration emphasised that restraint will have to be exercised in establishing domestic food stocks of agricultural products that are traditionally exported so as to avoid disruptions or distortions in international trade.

The collective will of the WTO member nations is also opposed to imposition of agriculture export restrictions and implementation of unjustified trade barriers on agriculture and agri-food products and key agricultural production inputs.

It is in this backdrop, it’s shocking though not the least surprising that Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau took a u-turn on the Canadian government’s stand vis-à-vis trade barriers on agriculture and agri-food products and he tried to lecture India by opposing Modi government’s farm reforms and supporting the farmers bent upon maintaining status quo with relation to the MSP (minimum support price) regime and the agriculture markets (Mandis) that presently function under the vice-like-grip of middlemen (adhatias in Punjab) who are essentially the money spinners for political parties. It is this stranglehold that Narendra Modi is targetting. The Modi Government wants to guarantee maximum benefit to farmers by driving out the middlemen from the procurement process, prevent huge stocks of grain from rotting in government or the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns, curb corruption, and ensure proper storage and smooth movement of agricultural produce with the help of the private and corporate sector.

One doesn’t need rocket science to conclude why Trudeau chose to be a double face. Obviously, he was being dictated by the political expediency of keeping the Khalistani group in Canada on his side, when he chose to meddle in the internal affairs of India much to the chagrin of the Indian citizens and majority of the Indian diaspora across the world.

When Trudeau sides with the pro-Khalistan elements to further his politics, one wonders what’s wrong with him. He is not so naïve that he can’t see what’s axiomatic. The world knows who the Khalistanis are and what they stand for. If Trudeau is blank on this count, he he should be reading “Khalistan: A Project of Pakistan” by veteran journalist Terry Milewski. It reveals, as the forward to this report says, the concept of Khalistan as a project of Pakistan, designed to subvert the national security of both Canada and India. Thirty-five years after the horrific Air India bombing, and 73 years after the independence and partition of India and Pakistan, Milewski conducted a complex and penetrating research into the geopolitical dimensions of the Khalistan cause and its affiliations with Pakistan’s ongoing policy of practicing state terror as statecraft, the report goes on to underscore.

In June 2019, Punjab Chief Minister and the unquestioned Congress leader in his state, Capt. Amarinder Singh had cited a 2018 public report released by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and urged the Modi Government at the Centre to take serious note of disclosures about the Khalistan groups and mount global pressure on Canada to put an end to the use of its soil to spread terror in India. “India had, for too long, been soft towards Canada and needed to crack its whip aggressively, even seek UN sanctions if needed, to end the growing threat once and for all,” the Punjab CM had said in a statement.

UK and Switzerland confirm participation in revised government procurement pact

Newsroom24x7 Network   

Geneva: Switzerland and the United Kingdom have completed the final step for making their respective participation in the revised Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) effective. As of 1 January 2021, the revised GPA will be in force for Switzerland, and the UK will be a party to the accord in its own right.  

Switzerland submitted the so-called “instrument of acceptance” to the WTO on 2 December. This means that, as of 1 January 2021, the revised GPA will be in force for all GPA parties. The Government Procurement Agreement opens government procurement markets among its parties. The revised GPA, in force since 2014, expands the number of governmental entities, such as ministries and agencies, that are covered by the Agreement, and adds new services. The text of the revised agreement can be found here.

The same day, the UK submitted the so-called “instrument of accession” to the WTO. This means that the UK will take part in the GPA in its own right from 1 January 2021. The UK continues to be covered by the agreement during the European Union-UK transition period, which ends on 31 December 2020. It is treated as a member state of the European Union during the transition period.

Modi reiterates commitment to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi: On the first anniversary of his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said our objective is to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services. He also gave the assurance to the people that the goal is to “build the India of your dreams and that of our freedom fighters.”

In a letter to the people to mark his one year in office, the PM has said: “We assumed office at a time when confidence in the India story was waning. Un-abated corruption and indecisiveness had paralyzed the government. People had been left helpless against ever climbing inflation and economic insecurity.”

Stressing that urgent and decisive action was needed, the Prime Minister said runaway prices were immediately brought under control. The languishing economy was rejuvenated, building on stable, policy-driven proactive governance. Discretionary allotment of our precious natural resources to a chosen few was replaced with transparent auctions. Firm steps were taken against Black Money, from setting up an SIT and passing a stringent black money law, to generating international consensus against the same.

Uncompromising adherence to the principle of purity, in action as well as intent, has ensured a corruption-free government Modi has stated in his letter adding significant changes have been brought about in work culture, nurturing a combination of empathy as well as professionalism, systems as well breaking of silos. State governments have been made equal partners in the quest for national development, building the spirit of Team India. Most importantly, we have been able to restore Trust in the government, he has pointed out.

The PM has underscored the achievements of his government by stating that guided by the principle of Antyodaya, his Government is dedicated to the poor, marginalized and those left behind. He has further said in his letter: ‘We are working towards empowering them to become our soldiers in the war against poverty. Numerous measures and schemes have been initiated – from making school toilets to setting up IITs, IIMs and AIIMS; from providing a vaccination cover to our children to initiating a people-driven Swachh Bharat mission; from ensuring a minimum pension to our labourers to providing social security to the common man; from enhancing support to our farmers hit by natural calamities to defending their interests at WTO; from empowering one and all with self attestation to delivering subsidies directly to people’s banks; from universalizing the banking system to funding the unfunded small businesses; from irrigating fields to rejuvenating the Ganga River; from moving towards 24×7 power to connecting the nation through road and rail; from building homes for the homeless to setting up smart cities, and from connecting the North-East to prioritizing development of Eastern India.
In another letter to the people on economic issues, the PM said:

One year ago, you had entrusted me with the task of building a new India and putting a derailed economy back on track. We have achieved a lot. Economic growth has been revived, and is among the fastest in the world. Inflation is substantially down. Fiscal prudence has been restored. Confidence is up. Foreign investments have increased. This positive outlook is endorsed by major rating agencies and international institutions across the world.

Bold reforms pending for decades have been implemented. Diesel prices have been decontrolled. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is slated to be introduced next year. By facilitating companies to Make in India through a focus on Ease of Doing Business, new jobs are being created. Cooking gas subsidies are being paid directly to beneficiary bank accounts under PAHAL – ensuring the right amount of subsidy, reaches the right people, at the right time. FDI limits in insurance, railways and defence production have been raised. Moreover, we have embraced the states as equal partners in national development, working as Team India in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism.

Political interference in public sector banking decisions is a thing of the past. Transparent coal auctions and allotments have mobilized potential revenues of Rs. 3.35 lakh crores to coal-bearing states over the lifespan of mines. And reform in the Mines Act has replaced a discretionary mechanism with a transparent auction process. To combat black money, a Special Investigation Team has been appointed and a new stringent law passed.

Nearly Rs. 1 lakh crores of public investment have been allocated in this year’s budget to improve physical as well as digital connectivity. A comprehensive transformation of the railways into a locomotive of growth has begun. Stalled highway projects are being restructured and revived. Power generation is at an all-time high. A new National Infrastructure Investment Fund has been set up with an annual government funding of Rs. 20,000 crores.

Economic growth benefits all Indians. Growth however, has meaning only if it empowers the poor, farmers, women, as well as middle and neo-middle classes of all communities. To enable us to continue paying remunerative prices to our farmers, we secured a permanent ‘peace clause’ at the WTO. The world’s largest financial inclusion project has brought banking to the doorsteps of the poor, opening a record 15 crore plus bank accounts with deposits of over Rs. 15,800 crores. An affordable social security system including pension, life insurance and accident insurance, has already witnessed 6.75 crore enrolments in its first week. MUDRA has been set up with a corpus of Rs. 20,000 crores to help our small businessmen, who despite being our biggest job creators have historically been starved of credit.

A lot has been achieved. However, this is just the beginning. There is much more to be done and I know your expectations are high. A year ago I gave you my word that while I might perhaps commit errors, I would always act with pure intentions and spend every available moment working for a better India. I have kept my word. I seek your continued support, suggestions and blessings in building the India of our dreams.