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RCEP deal: Siddaramaiah urges Centre to safeguard dairy, pharma sectors

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on October 25, 2019

The Free Trade Agreement under RCEP, which the Central government is about to sign, is expected to adversely impact domestic agricultural, animal husbandry and pharma sectors, said Leader of the Opposition and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah.

Addressing reporters, he said “India has a large consumption market due to its population, production and innovation, which other countries want to take advantage.”

Supporting the dairy farmers of Karnataka, the former chief minister criticised the BJP-led Central government and said, “India ranks at the top in production of milk and other dairy products. Karnataka comes second in the country. There are almost 16,000 cooperative societies in our State and we produce almost 78 lakh litres of milk everyday.” Referring to the Ksheera Dhare (a scheme for dairy farmers), he said “We give ₹5 per litre of milk as subsidy and through Ksheer Bhagya programme provide milk to school children, which gives further impetus to milk production. Many farmers are now dependent on this income.”

Siddaramaiah said, “New Zealand has lot of excess milk production than their demand. So now, they want to push their milk products to India where consumers are more. There will be no tax to 95 per cent of the products if Free Trade Agreement is signed. We will not be able to complete with excess production and& cheap imports of foreign goods.”

Siddaramaiah demanded that that the Karnataka Chief minister BS Yediyurappa take a delegation of MPs along with the representatives from the Opposition to make the government understand the impact of the decision. This will also affect Gujarat, the home State of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which tops in milk production, he said.

On the pharmaceutical sector, the former chief minister said, “The FTA will also have an impact on generic medicines. If the government doesn’t walk the talk, it will lose the trust of the people. We are already facing unemployment crisis mainly due to demonetisation and faulty implementation of GST.”

Published on October 25, 2019

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