KOTTAYAM: Disapproving the newly introduced bills to formulate new Acts for Rubber and Spices, Rajya Sabha MP Jose K Mani has demanded that natural rubber should be declared as an agriculture product.
Jose, who sent a dissent note to the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, also pointed out that only some amendments were needed in the Indian Rubber Act instead of repealing it citing that it was an outdated one.
"Natural rubber must be declared an agricultural crop to get protection under the guidelines of WTO. This apart, steps should be taken to include provisions to declare support price for rubber ensuring that farmers incur no loss," he said.
"While minimum and maximum prices have been set for natural rubber, it should be made applicable to imported rubber as well. At the same time, the provisions in the Rubber Bill steal the powers of the Rubber Board, and they should be removed.The new bill should include effective provisions to prevent uncontrolled and liberal import of rubber," he added.
Jose added that the new Spices Bill also contained several clauses that adversely affect farmers. "The decision not to include the provisions of the 1986 Act that determine and control the domestic price of spices in the new bill is an anti-farmer step. This will further affect the cardamom farmers. Cardamom is the livelihood of more than 80,000 families and over two lakh workers," he said.
"Cardamom cultivation should be protected to ensure better returns to farmers," he pointed out in the dissent note.