States told to take the ordinance route for agri-market reforms

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on May 11, 2020

The Centre has asked States to take the ordinance route to bring in APMC reforms to facilitate better market access for farmers during the prevailing lockdown.

The Agriculture Ministry has written to States to bring in amendments to the APMC Act and adopt the Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017, issued by the Centre.

While Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have made amendment to the APMC Act, other States such as Karnataka are expected to follow suit to adopt the APLM Act, 2017.

The Model APLM Act of 2017 aims at developing a state-level unified market through adoption of at least nine essential areas of reforms such as limiting regulation of APMC to within the physical premises of the mandi, separation of power and functions of director --- marketing and managing director of the mandi board, declaring warehouses and cold storages as market sub-yards, deregulating fruits and vegetables, private markets, direct marketing and adhoc wholesale buying, e-trading, unified licence across the State and single point levy of market fee.

“In the present challenging time due to Covid-19, there is utmost need to facilitate farmers in all possible ways to make market access at the doorstep by limiting the market regulations within the physical boundaries of the mandis. I would, therefore, request that your State should consider adopting the same urgency through the route of Ordnance in the interest of the farmers and producers to enable them to get better market access for their produce at this juncture for better remunerative prices,” said Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal in a letter to Karnataka.

Though the Centre has been trying to persuade States and UTs to carry out market reforms for the last couple of years, the response has been lukewarm. This is mainly because the States are not keen on disturbing the existing setup and incurring the wrath of farmers as price discovery mainly happens at APMC markets that have been built over the years, experts said.

According to a reply to Parliament question in November last year, only Arunachal Pradesh had adopted the Model APLM Act fully, while Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab had adopted major provisions of the Act.

Union Budget 2020-21 had talked about encouraging those State governments that undertake the implementation of laws brought out by the Centre such as the Model APLM Act 2017, Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act 2016 and Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2018.

Published on May 11, 2020

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