â€˜MFN status to India will put 70pc rural jobs at stakeâ€™ | The Nation LAHORE - Jobs of almost 70 per cent population of the rural areas of the country are at risk due to granting of MFN status to India, said former chairman of Pakistan Poultry Association Abdul Basit on Friday. While talking to TheNation here, Basit, who is also chairman of the Big Bird Group of Companies, has suggested Islamabad to impose regulatory duty on Indian goods so that Pakistani growers could compete with their Indian counterparts, who are availing higher subsidy by the Indian government. He said that Pak-India trade would benefit the Indians only, calling it â€˜one sided tradeâ€™. He said generating jobs opportunities should be the top priority of the government, as it will enhance the purchasing power of consumers. He opposed the MFN status to India and feared a deep rooted conspiracy on the part of India to cripple down Pakistanâ€™s economy. According to him, India is working on multi-dimensional strategy under the garb of bilateral trade. The government should take all the stakeholders into confidence before moving ahead, he said. He said that Kashmir problem and water issues are yet unresolved and demand attention before granting MFN status to India. He termed extension of MFN status to India as a serious matter, pointing out that the government has taken the decision in haste. New Delhi provides around $30 billion annual subsidy to its farming community, which gives them huge advantage over Pakistan, said Basit, who is also ex-SVP of the LCCI. He said that urea price in India is 280 Indian rupees per bag, equivalent to around 500 Pakistani rupees. The price of urea in Pakistan is Rs1,800 per bag. He said India is giving huge subsidies on urea. He said DAP rate in Pakistan is Rs4000-Rs4200 per bag, but it is sold in India at 920 Indian rupees, equivalent to 2000 Pakistani rupees. He said these two important fertilisers are the main input in all crops, particularly wheat. He said that cotton farmers would face an uphill task to sell their produce to spinners as the cost of cotton production in India is much lower due to huge government subsidies. He said Indian govt is taking only Rs1700 per month electricity bill from the farmers for tube-wells and in our country up to Rs150,000 electricity bill is common. Basit said diesel and power rates for farmers in India are very low and in some states farmers pay Rs1 per unit against Rs6.68 paid by Pakistani farmers. He said in case of wheat, farmers use three bags of urea and one bag of DAP per acre. He said a Pakistani farmer spends Rs5,600 on application of urea and Rs4,300 on DAP per acre. In India, the cost of both fertilisers for wheat crop is merely 2,443 Pakistani rupees, he said. He said even the higher support price of wheat in Pakistan fails to bridge the difference. He said the support price of wheat in Pakistan is Rs950 per maund, while in India it is 818 Pakistani rupees per maund. This lower support price is compensated by the low electricity and diesel costs, he said. â€œIn free trade with India , we might see Indian wheat capturing Pakistani market at the expense of local farmers.â€ â€œIndia subsidises its agriculture to the tune of $30 billion, while in Pakistan there is 16 percent general sales tax (GST) on all inputs along with the recently imposed gas infrastructure cess,â€ he said. He said basmati exported from Pakistan was re-packed in the Gulf by traders and sold as a product of Indian origin. He viewed that Indian exports were rising without MFN status whereas Pakistani exports have seen downward trend despite having MFN status, as the Pakistani exporters cannot get access to Indian markets because of the non-tariff barriers created by Indian bureaucracy. The Pak-India bilateral trade particularly through Wagha border route is only benefiting India, as 31,897 truckloads worth Rs21 billion reached Pakistan while only 4,664 trucks, having goods of Rs1.33 billion, were sent to India during fiscal year 2010-11, they added. He predicted that Islamabad would have zero benefit out of this move in the shape of adverse impact on local industry.