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|December 12, 1998||
Two million people sign memo against India joining WTO
Over two million people have demanded India's withdrawal from the World Trade Organisation pleading that the treaty was aimed at establishing ''corporate colonialism'' in the country.
The demand is contained in joint memoranda signed by these people, collected from 168 districts spread across 16 states. The signatures have been collected by a nationwide grassroots organisation, the Azaadi Bachao Andolan, which is spearheading an agitation against the multinational companies.
Professor Sharma, an internationally renowned mathematician and Gandhian visionary said this at a public meeting at Rajghat, the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi, which was attended by several members of Parliament, economists, journalists and social activists.
They lamented that the Centre was in the process of overhauling the Patents Act to facilitate free entry to multi-national companies in the country.
The speakers said the Vajpayee government's move to present the Patent Bill in Parliament, if enacted, would play havoc with the pharmaceutical sector built up during the last three decades.
They said the act will also facilitate the entry of multinational companies into agricultrue sector with the result that they would have control over Indian seeds as well.
As a consequence of its going for financial agreement in 1997, India was being forced to open up its banking, and insurance sector to the multinational companies, they said adding that how the economic interests of the country were being bypassed, was exemplified by the non-inclusion of textiles till 2005 in the WTO and the continuance of the quota system.
They said the constant decline of Indian exports and increase in imports and consequent rise in its debt demonstrated the hollowness of the promise of export benefits as a result of the WTO membership.
''Soaring prices, corruption and cultural degradation are some significant prices the country is paying as a result of its participation in the so-called New Economic Order,'' they said.
They cautioned that the ruling class represented by the Congress or the BJP had surrendered nation's economic sovereignty to the ''foreign capital'' and called for a nationwide mass movement to oppose the economic, agricultural and industrial policies being pursued by the successive Central governments to please their foreign masters.
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