Government has allocated Rs 200 crore for three years to set up an online national agriculture market by integrating 585 wholesale mandis across India, a move aimed at providing farmers free market access to realise better price. There are about 7,000 mandis in the country regulated under the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act.
Even within in a state, farmers are restricted to sell their produce at one particular APMC mandi paying various taxes. In a bid to reform agri-marketing system, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had yesterday approved a Central Sector Scheme for Promotion of National Agricultural Market through Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund.
“Now, there will be one licence for entire state, there will be single point levy. There will be electronic auctions for price discovery. The impact will be that the entire state will become a market and the fragmented markets within the states would be abolished,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after announcing the scheme.
He said that Rs 200 crore has been earmarked for this scheme during 2015-16 to 2017-18. “Seamless transfer of agri-commodities within the state can take place. The market size for farmers would increase as he won’t be limited to a captive market,” he added. Elaborating the scheme, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that the online platform, integrating 585 mandis, would be operational in next six months.
The Karnataka government has already set up its own online agri-market platform integrating 13 mandis, while Maharashtra is doing on a pilot basis. “We don’t want each state to develop separate software as it would be difficult to integrate. So, we have decided to provide a single software. Several states have expressed interest,” Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain said at a conference organised by Assocham.
Chhatisgarh and Gujarat have agreed to implement, while Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh have shown interest, he added. Union Agriculture Ministry has appointed Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) to set up a common e-platform. The agency will integrate 250 mandis in the current fiscal, 200 mandis in 2016-17 and 135 mandis in 2017-18. Industry chambers also welcomed this initiative saying that it will will give higher transparency and better market access at better prices for farmers.
According to PTI, With an eye on improving farm productivity, the Indian government will spend Rs 50,000 crore over the next five years under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY).
“It has been decided that in 5 years, Rs 50,000 crore from the central Budget would be utilised for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana. States’ share will be over and above this,” Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while communicating the Cabinet decision. He further said: “This can also be utilised to help the material component in MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act).”
The decision was taken at the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) headed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. For the current fiscal, he said the allocation is Rs 5,300 crore. The spending this year is expected to bring an additional 6 lakh hectares under irrigation while 5 lakh hectares will benefit from drip irrigation. That apart, 1,300 watershed projects have been marked for completion.
Currently, 142 million hectares are used for cultivation, of which only 45 per cent farm land is under irrigation. “The major objective of the PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (har khet ko pani), improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, enhance adoption of precision-irrigation and other water-saving technologies (more crop per drop),” he said.
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