Centre threatens to rope in private players to run e-mandis in Bihar, Kerala & Manipur
According to Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, the Centre has been requesting the three states to come up with a clear policy for implementation of electronic national agriculture market (e-NAM), but no concrete move has yet been taken in this regard.
“In just six months, 10 states have incorporated e-NAM into their Agriculture Marketing Act and 250 mandis have been brought under the online trading platform. Also, the ministry has approved detailed project reports of 14 states for integrating 399 mandis with e-NAM, but these three states and four UTs namely Andman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshwadeep Islands, Dadar & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu have not done as much in this regard,” Singh said.
“Since e-NAM is aimed at bringing transparency in mandis, the reluctance of states shows that they are not in favour of protecting farmers’ interest. As doubling the income of farmers’ is our topmost priority, we have to handover the operations of e-mandis to private players, if states fail to bring in their own laws,” Singh said, adding that why farmers should pay the price for state’s incompetence.
Reacting to the Centre’s move, Principal Secretary of Bihar’s agriculture department Sudhir Kumar said, “The state’s APMC Act has been repealed and the government is still working to find out alternative models for it. If the Centre proposes to rope in private players for the operation of e-mandis, the government will look into it and respond as per legal provisions.”
The Centre has called a meeting with Bihar and Kerala on October 14 where a final call is expected be taken in this regard.
In April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the e-NAM on a pilot basis with 22 mandis in eight states. The target was to integrate 200 mandis by September this year and total 585 by March 2018.
“So far, 1,53,992 tonne of agriculture produce worth Rs 421 crore has been transacted on e-NAM platform. As many as 160,229 farmers, 46,688 traders and 25,970 commission agents have been registered on the e-NAM at present,” Singh said.