Indian People’s Campaign against WTO to Hold Rally on 6th November, 2001 in Delhi

WTO is holding its Ministerial Meeting at Doha (Qatar) from 9th to 13th November 2001. WTO has provided a powerful forum for developed countries to erode the economic sovereignty of third world countries including ours. Our market has been forced open for goods and services of the multinationals and agri-businesses. Under WTO’s pressure, our laws are being amended, policies are being changed and new laws are being enacted to suit the requirements of the multinationals, particularly holders of monopoly rights in intellectual property, services oligopolies and foreign finance capital. Trade liberalisation is ruining the small and cottage industries and endangering the livelihood of the vast masses engaged in eking out existence in the self-employed sector of our economy. The medium and large industries are facing stiff import competition and the brunt is being borne by the workers facing not only deprivation of their hard earned rights and entitlements but also retrenchment and lay-offs. Worst of all, agriculture, the last bastion of the national economy, is facing unprecedented threat with the removal of all quantitative restrictions on imports of agricultural products, on one hand, and, impending corporatization of this sector, on the other.

The damage has been compounded because of the complementary economic, financial and fiscal policies being followed by the Government under pressure and advice of IMF and World Bank. Irrigation, agricultural research and development and extension have been starved of public investment. Public procurement policy has been practically abandoned in the name of decentralising it, when state governments have no resources to step in the shoes of the Centre. Farmers have been virtually left to the mercy of the traders and profiteers. Kisans who transformed the food economy from endemic shortages and abject dependence on imports to self-sufficiency and relative abundance have been forced to face indebtedness , bankruptcy and despair. They are being dispossessed of their land through auctions to recover dues and we are witnessing the opposite of the freedom struggle slogan — “land to the tillers”. Public Distribution System has been decimated in the name of “targeting”, reduction of subsidies and fiscal discipline. And the country is facing the shameful spectacle of overflowing go-downs and widespread hunger and malnutrition and some starvation deaths.

Rural and urban poor and adivasis are the worst victims of the policies of Globalization and marketization. The land acquisition processes have worked to the disadvantages of the rural periphery of expanding urban conglomerates. Increasing underemployment and impoverishment of the rural hinterland is swelling the ranks of migratory labour. Market orientation has replaced socially oriented land-use policies. Fiscal crunch is squeezing whatever little was there of public health and housing facilities. The growing rich elite in cities is enforcing its concepts and priorities of town planning and beautification and the urban poor is under the constant threat of being uprooted from their makeshift habitat in the slums. As part of economic liberalization, forest and mineral resources are being brought under full sway of the market. Multinationals are being invited to exploit these resources. The traditional and constitutional rights of Adivasis to land and forest resources are being ignored, curtailed or abrogated. And the very survival of Adivasis is at stake.

WTO is the most visible symbol of this process of Globalization, Marketization and Re-colonization. WTO’s forthcoming Ministerial Meeting at Doha (Qatar) on 9-13 November 2001 will be launching a New Round of Negotiations with the explicit objective of further consolidation and accentuation of this process. All indications available show that Government of India is likely to succumb to the pressure of developed countries and the multinationals, collaborate with the forces of global capital in its onward march and join in launching the New Round which will totally compromise our economic sovereignty.

To mount a co-ordinated challenge to the onslaught of this process and prevent its further consolidation and accentuation, political parties, trade unions, farmers’ organizations, organizations of Adivasis, People’s movements, grassroot workers and a number of concerned individuals have converged and joined forces to launch Indian People’s Movement against WTO at a large and widely representative meeting convened by Shri V.P. Singh (Former Prime Minister of India) on 16th September 2001 in New Delhi . Those who participated in the meeting included Shri H. D. Deve Gowda (Former Prime Minister of India), Shri Harkishan Singh Surjeet (CPI-M), Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Shri A. B. Bardhan (CPI), Shri Debabarta Biswas (Forward Block), Shri Sitaram Yechuri (CPI-M), Shri Atul Kumar Anjan (CPI), Shri S.P.Shukla, (Convenor, People’s Camnpaign against Globalization) Shri Surendra Mohan, Shri B.B. Pandey (CPI-ML-Liberation), Dr. Vandana Shiva, Prabir Purkayastha, Vijay Pratap, Shri Sanjay M.G., (National Co-Convenor, NAPM), Shri Shoaib Iqbal, M.L.A. (Delhi), Shri Jai Bhagwan Jatav, Shri Mahedra Singh, Shri Yogendra Sharma and Shri Kesari Singh Gujjar (Jan Chetana Manch,) Dr. Sunilam (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh), Prof. Ajit Jha (Samajwadi Jan Parishad), Shri Ashok Rao, Shri B.D. Sharma.

As part of the co-ordinated campaign to challenge the onslaught of the process symbolized by WTO and to stop the government from succumbing to the pressure at the WTO Ministerial Meeting at Doha ( 9-13 November, 2001) the Indian People’s Campaign against WTO will be organizing a massive rally in New Delhi on 6th November 2001.

The rally will give a call for a sustained mass movement to stop the government from surrendering India’s economic sovereignty and destroying the Indian economy and people’s livelihood.