ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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By Stealth

By Stealth THE government has been fond of claiming that it has successfully built a national consensus on its economic policies when, in fact, it has consistently fought shy of engaging in any form of discussion and consultation with its critics, including the opposition political parties in parliament which among them today command the support of a far larger proportion of the electorate than does the ruling party. In the case of India's membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the just-established successor to GATT following the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, the government has carried this penchant for ignoring all opinion other than its own to the point where it has not hesitated to throw constitutional proprieties to the wind. In a premeditated ploy to bypass parliament, it waited for parliament's winter session to end and then, just days later, look bra/en recourse to ordinance raj to amend the patents and customs laws to make them conform to the requirements of the WTO. The government authenticated the Uruguay Round agreement at Marrakesh in April last year and there was ample lime and opportunity for parliament to discuss the consequential legislation, especially the vital bill to amend the patents act which would have far-reaching implications. Instead what we have now are the two ordinances presented to the president for his signature at the very last moment.

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