India’s Solar Power Program - Double-standards of WTO & US
The increasing ‘Green House’ gas emissions are responsible for deteriorating of atmosphere on the earth. We all are experiencing the undergoing changes in the nature’s cycle due to ‘global warming’. Researchers are also associating the melting of ice on both the poles, the extreme climatic changes in the seasons, increasing natural calamities such as floods, storms, etc. with the global warming. Hence for more than last one and a half decades efforts are being made to reduce the ‘Green House’ gas emissions. But surprisingly the developed countries like the United States and European Union have been trying to put the burden of reducing the ‘Green House’ gas emissions on the developing countries rather than own-up and correct their own mistakes. Initially, the United States was not ready for this and hence ‘Kyoto Agreement’ failed.
Later at the ‘Climate Change Conference’ held in Paris in December last year, it was believed that the disagreements at Kyoto were settled and put in place. A ‘climate agreement’ (Paris Agreement) was approved in this conference which stated that the major responsibility of bringing down the ‘Green House’ gas emissions should be taken by the developed nations. 195 countries ratified this agreement as per which all the on-board countries have in-steps decided to reduce, the use of coal and other fossil fuels that are responsible for the ‘Green House’ gas emissions. The Agreement has directives for countries to opt for other eco-friendly fuels in place of coal as fuel. Importantly ‘Solar Energy’ has emerged as an important option in this direction but is costly at present.
Hence it is essential that this technology be made available at affordable costs to the developing nations. But by reporting against the ‘Solar Power Program’ of India at WTO (World Trade Organization) the United States and thus the developed nations have indicated that they are not going to be easily ready to give this technology to the developing nations.
The United States alleges ‘Solar Power Program’ of India obstructs its business interests. Further US says “it was the one who gave ‘Solar Technology’ to India and has also trained Indians in its use. Earlier, India used to import equipment required to produce solar power from the US. US had even provided subsidy on this equipment. And it is owing to this subsidy that the field of ‘Solar Power’ has been developed in India”.
Hon. Prime Minister of India, Shri. Narendra Modi has announced the ‘Solar Power Program’. Accordingly, to increase the use of ‘Solar Energy’, to build projects and to make the ‘Solar Energy’ cheaper, India is purchasing the solar equipment from local manufacturers. India has also made it mandatory to use the equipment made in India for this ambitious programme. And this exactly is against the interests of the United States as due to the policy of using only Indian (equipment) by India, US solar equipment manufacturers have suffered badly. And this is the reason why the United States has dragged this matter to the WTO. WTO, influenced by the US and its western allies has given the decision in favour of US, ruling it is wrong on the part of India to make it mandatory to use the equipment made in India only. India is sure to approach and stand against this decision at the WTO. But with this it is clear that the United States is creating hindrances in India’s efforts to develop clean solar energy.
Under the name of Patents and trade regulations the western countries have till date tried to undermine Indian interests. Interestingly medicinal herbs like neem, turmeric etc. that find various mentions in ancient Indian texts have also been shamelessly patented by it (India has later won the fight against the Patents of turmeric, etc.) The US has also taken patent on various ancient Indian forms of Yoga. In the meantime, a try was also made to take patent of Basmati rice. This in itself speaks volumes about the principles followed by US in its trade policy and also exposes duplicity in it.
India has already clarified that its ‘Solar Power Program’ is not for the benefit of Indian businesses but rather it is India’s try to ‘Go Green’ i.e. producing more eco-friendly power. This ambitious program of India is sure to strengthen the ‘Paris Climate Change Conference’ agreement in letter and spirit. Even though the Paris Agreement does not feature any patent interests of the US yet with selfish and jealous motives, US is trying to jeopardize the very basis of Paris Agreement which is seen as the hope of the future against climate change by the whole world.
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