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"Dr. M. R. Khurana" <khurana@pu.ac.in>Add to contactsDear Copnference Coordinator,

Please find the abstract of my paper for the proposed conference, A fulllength paper will follow soon.

Kindly acknowledge.

Thanking you,

Sincerely,M R Khurana

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TRIPS AND SEEDS INDUSTRY IN INDIA: SOME POLICY OPTIONS

M R KHURANA*

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                                                         ABSTRACT

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In the wake of GATT agreement, the issue of Trade Related IntellectualProperty Rights, popularly known as TRIPS, has emerged as a major area ofconcern for developing economies (including our own) owing to its widespread socio-economic and political implications.  In spite of a lotof drum beating across the globe in this regard, a common agenda concerning a wide variety of issues (such as patents, geographicalappellations copyrights, trade marks, protection for circuit designs,software, music etc.) continues to be elusive to-date. Two diametrically opposite opinions seem to have emerged on most of these issues. These opinions range from extreme opposition to the grant of IPRs to support forunfettered protection to IPRs. Nevertheless, in some academic circles, itis growingly felt that such extreme viewpoints may be detrimental to the interests of a developing economy like India, particularly in the area of seeds industry related to agriculture. In a sense, the existing evidence pertaining to IPRS does not seem to focus adequately on agriculture which continues to be the primary sector of economic activity in a large numberof developing economies.  The seeds industry which otherwise is of utmost importance from the view- point of growth of the farm sector in sucheconomies is studied much less intensively.  However the effects of TRIPS on seeds industry warrants serious research attention. It scarcely needsto be over emphasized hereto that India in this regard is of particular interest for a number of reasons. First, ours is a predominantly agricultural economy in that the economic fortunes of roughly two- thirdof our working population are directly tied with this sector. As such,anything adversely affecting the growth of the farm sector has lot manyimplications. Second, up until the signing of the GATT agreement in 1994,it had already experienced roughly three decades of rapid agriculturegrowth in the wake of the green revolution since mid- sixties, which was,inter alia, ushered in by the HYVs of seeds. And finally, over thisperiod, the country has had and economic policy, which was characterized by growing subsidization of the farm sector including in respect of,seeds.  The signing of the GATT agreement therefore tantamount to apronounced policy swing. It is, therefore, of immense academic interest,as also of great significance from the policy making point of view to lookat the effects and implications of TRIPS as well as the agenda that Indiashould pursue to safeguard its interests in the emerging scenario.

Given the existing state in Indian agriculture, the relevant questions tobe asked therefore are: How will this primary sector of our economy get affected in the long run by the IPRs, particularly in respect of availability of seeds?  Will the peasantry, particularly the small and marginal farmers at the lower rung of the rural hierarchy, with stand the on slaught of IPRs?  This paper tries to bring to the fore some important long - term implications of IPRs for Indian agriculture.  To be more specific, the primary purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of TRIPS on seeds industry in India. The paper is structured asfollows. Section I of the paper focuses on the issues as have tended togain significance from the viewpoint of Indian agriculture in the wake of GATT agreement.  In section II, we provide a brief sketch of the country'spolicy regime in respect of seed industry in the pre-Uruguay Round period. Section III describes the possible effects of TRIPS on seedsindustry in India. Section IV discusses policy options for India in the emerging scenario.  And finally, section V concludes.

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Professor and Chairperson, Department of Economics, Panjab University,
Chandigarh-160014. The author can be contacted at khurana@pu.ac.in.

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