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Handcrafted Wedding Sarees, Party wear Sarees

Benarasi Sarees

     “Handloom has become live grave for weavers” Edited by: Bijo Francis, AHRC and Dr. Lenin, PVCHR INTRODUCTION: Trade liberalization is the driving force of economic globalization, pursued relentlessly by rich nations and international financial institutions at the expense of the poor world.

     When trade protection is liberalized too much or too quickly, imports climb steeply as new products flood in and cheaper, better-marketed goods price out local producers. Exports also tend to grow, but by less, restricted by relatively low demand for typical developing country exports – such as raw materials. As a result, local producers sell less than before trade was liberalized and short term gains to consumers are wiped out in the long term as incomes fall and unemployment rises. This has been the story of sub-Saharan Africa and other regions over the past 20 years.

     The rich countries that dominate the IFIs (International Finance Institutions) and negotiations at the World Trade liberalization policies will improve the plight of the poor in developing countries. They claim, for example, that lowering developing countries’ barriers to trade in manufactured goods. As proposed in the WTO’s ongoing non-agricultural market access (NAMA) negotiations, would translate into poverty reduction by boosting economic growth, prices and employment opportunities. In fact, there is now substantial evidence to back up NGO’s longstanding claims that rapid liberalization policies actually cause a net loss for low and middle-income countries. UNCTAD recently concluded from a study of the relationship between trade liberalization and poverty in the world’s poorest countries that: “the incidence of poverty increased unambiguously in those economies that adopted the most open trade regimes.”

     Time has come to intervene. Time has to take positions. Time has come when we cannot dabble. Time will not wait for us. Before, our Government goes and signs agreements(AoA, NAMA, GATS) in the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Hongkong,13-18 December,2005 and barters the sovereignty of our country, we need intervene.

Some Basic Facts

(need to be in conjunction with WTO-WB-IMF, hand-in-glove operations)

     US itself gives subsidies to its corporate agribusinesses and demands us to stop subsidies to our poor farmers. • Privatisation of services (health, education, water, power….) is happening in a big way. • Livelihoods are getting destroyed in a brazenly. • While India's gradual approach to trade liberalisation clearly has contributed to increasing growth in some sectors in recent years and saved the country from serious de-industrialisation as experienced by many other developing countries that had no choice but to follow the 'big bang approach to liberalisation' advocated by the World Bank and the IMF economic reform has been no painless experience for small scale manufactures concentrated in India's traditional sectors of mass employment. Both in textiles and leather many people have lost their livelihoods and those still employed have seen their wages and conditions of work deteriorate. • India is under pressure to liberalise its tariffs on industrial goods at the WTO • The US and the EU have a strong interest in increasing market access to large developing country markets like India, Brazil and China and they are pushing hard for this to be realised in current NAMA negotiations at the WTO.

     The negative impact of drastic reductions in India's industrial tariffs as a consequence of NAMA will be significant for large sections of India manufacturing industry. “Handloom has become live grave for weavers.”It was said by a women weaver on the occasion of death anniversary of Savitri Ba Pule on 10 March, 2003. Meanwhile within two years 39 weavers have lost their lives in Varanasi district as reported in local newspapers. One can speculate that there might be so many other deaths which go unnoticed .As we know that imperialistic globalization is going to affect all walks of life deeply in Indian society. Some steps have already been taken in this direction. Structural adjustment program is being introduced under the pressure and direction of IMF which is affecting weaving industry and other public sectors. Poor weavers have been losing their jobs because of slow down of market and facing starvation. In remote country side areas around Varanasi city thousands of weavers were applied for weaving work, but today most of them have lost their jobs and starvation deaths are taking place in those areas.

Trade liberalisation in India - the true story

A Brief History of Reforms

     India is set about to drastically reform its economy in the early 1990s. Serious balance of payment difficulties demanded a change in economic policy and like in most other developing countries guided by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) structural adjustment and liberalisation became the order of the day. Public enterprises were privatised and public investment was cut back while production levels, interest rates, exchange rates and prices were left to be determined by the market.