Farmers body supports ban on FDI in tobacco sector
FAIFA, which claims to represent ‘lakhs of tobacco growers’ in India, alleged the MNCs switch supply chains globally depending upon currency fluctuations and labour arbitrage, thereby making for an unstable employment opportunity and not adding value in the domestic economy.
“We have written to Prime Minister highlighting how the multinational tobacco companies are using ambiguities in FDI policy to endorse international brands in India which encourages illegal trade,” FAIFA General Secretary Murali Babu said in a statement.
FAIFA also welcomed a move by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to ban FDI in tobacco sector, which has got support from the Finance Ministry.
“MNCs possess the unique competitive ability to switch supply chains globally depending upon currency fluctuations as well as opportunities arising from labour arbitrage. This does not also make for a stable employment opportunity and value addition in the domestic economy,” FAIFA said.
The tobacco farmers’ body further said: “As a result, the country today is witnessing a jobless growth in consumption besides significant outflow of foreign currency in the form.”
The body further said there has been a steep decline in legal cigarette volumes and the consequent reduction in the utilisation of FCV (Flue Cured Virginia) tobacco in cigarette has had “a devastating impact” on the tobacco farmers.
It blamed increased taxation on legal cigarettes and “the resulting growth of illegal cigarettes in the country which the multinational companies promote through the loopholes in FDI” for the plight of the tobacco farmers.
Paddy sowing down 10%, pulses area falls 37%
Total area sown under paddy is lower by 10 per cent so far in this kharif season at 5.75 lakh hectares, while pulses acreage is down 37 per cent mainly due to delay in onset of monsoon. Farmers have sown pulses in 1.46 lakh hectares so far in the ongoing kharif season of the 2016-17 crop year as against 2.32 lakh hectares in the same period last year. “Preliminary reports of crop coverage in the kharif season have started coming in. The total sown area as on 10th June, as per reports received from the states, stands at 71.24 lakh hectare as compared to 76.65 lakh hectare at this time last year,” an official statement said. After a delay of almost seven days, southwest monsoon hit Kerala on June 8.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has projected an “above normal” rainfall this year. According to Agriculture Ministry data, paddy acreage is 5.75 lakh hectare so far this Kharif as against 6.42 lakh hectare in the corresponding period of last year. Area under coarse cereals is also down by 47 per cent at 2.01 lakh hectares so far compared with 3.82 lakh hectares in the year ago period. In non-food grains category, oilseeds acreage is lower at 0.72 lakh hectares so far as against 1.22 lakh hectares in the same period last kharif. Cotton sowing is also lagging behind by 31 per cent at 9.87 lakh hectares compared with 14.30 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.