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POLICY & REGULATIONS

Committee created for agri reforms, states Modi at NITI Ayog meeting
Tuesday, 18 June, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the creation of a high-powered committee on structural reforms in agriculture. He emphasised the need for undertaking structural reforms in agriculture, including encouraging corporate investment, strengthening logistics and focussing on food processing.

Modi announced this while addressing the fifth governing council meeting of NITI Ayog, the government’s policy think-tank, in New Delhi recently, wherein agriculture was listed as one of the main items on the agenda for serious consideration.

An official statement from NITI Ayog stated that the prime minister called upon the meeting to undertake foundational reforms in the agri economy, leading to a complete transformation of the agriculture sector in India.

The core agenda items included the need to review the implementation of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act and possible reforms in the form of the Model APMC Act, as well as exploring changes in the Essential Commodities Act, to ensure fair remuneration for the farmers, streamlining of supply, driving more investment into the sector and predictability of policy at the national and regional levels.

The need to safeguard Indian agriculture and protect farmers from the vagaries of unpredictable monsoons was also highlighted in the meeting, with various chief ministers suggesting possible short-term and long-term solutions for making India a drought-free nation.

These included reviewing district agriculture contingency plans, streamlining provision of inputs such as seeds, making contingency plans for irrigation, etc.

It has been proposed that the Government will consider developing a comprehensive drought management plan that can be applicable across states.

Sagar Kurade, managing director, Suman Projects Consultants, and former president, AIFPA (All India Food Processors’ Association), said that the government’s move was in the right direction, as the APMC Act needed review.

He added that in many states, APMC got commission even if a company bought raw agri produce directly from farmers.

“Such anomalies need a review,” he said, adding that this time, the high-powered committee was expected to do the needful.
 
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