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. Elaborating the scheme, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that the online platform, integrating 585 mandis, would be operational in next six months.
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, improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, enhance adoption of precision-irrigation and other water-saving technologies .