What are the announcements made recently under the third phase of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan? What are the steps being taken to promote agriculture marketing?
As the third tranche of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan economic stimulus package, Union Finance Minister Making has paved the way for a long-pending agricultural marketing reforms and announced plans to enact a central law to permit barrier-free inter-State trade of farm commodities and ensure a legal framework to facilitate contract farming.
It also included plans to invest ₹1.5 lakh crore to build farm-gate infrastructure and support logistics needs for fishworkers, livestock farmers, vegetable growers, beekeepers and related activities, although this includes some previously budgeted money and extensions of existing schemes.
The Centre will deregulate the sale of six types of agricultural produce, including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes, by amending the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
The Essential Commodities Act was enacted at a time of food scarcity, and needs to reflect current concerns.
There is an issue with the act. There is an abundance of crops, and farmers would want to export, and the government don’t permit that.
Because of a flip-flop sometimes, farmers don’t get the benefit. Some other times, the consumers suffer. So there is a need to amend the Act.
Stock limits will not be imposed on these commodities except in case of national calamity or famine or an extraordinary surge in prices
The Centre has been attempting to reform agricultural marketing through a model Act which it encourages States to adopt.
However, it now intends to enact a central law to allow farmers to sell produce at attractive prices beyond the current mandi system, facilitating barrier-free inter-State trade and e-trading.