Millennium Post

Centre to approach states for changes in APMC Act: Paswan

Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said the Centre will approach states to bring amendments to APMC Act for delisting fruits and vegetables from the ambit of this law so that farmers get freedom to sell their produce.

The amendment in Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act would facilitate free movement of agriculture products in the country, he said.

The present “Mandi System” has put restriction on farmers to sell their products, he added. Under the APMC Act, mandis are established at different places within the state and farmers can sell their produce through auction at these mandis only.

At the same time, to operate in a mandi a trader has to get a licence and wholesalers, retail traders and food processing companies cannot buy farm output directly from the farmer. They have to get it through the mandi.

“We want to create common national market so that farmer can sell its produce wherever he wishes to, especially in case of fruits and vegetables and in this we will discuss and send instruction to states,” Paswan told reporters here.

A nationalised market will allow farmers to sell their produces freely. At present, farmers have to pay different fees and taxes to sell their produce in the APMC mandis, he said.

“Our purpose is to create such markets where farmers get decent price for their produce and at the same time timely availability of fruits and vegetables could be ensured for general public,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Economic Survey has also pitched for amendments in the act and suggested that the centre use constitutional powers to end monopoly of wholesale markets and replace coercive state laws affecting the food market.

The state laws are a major hurdle to modernisation of the food economy as they have artificially created cartels of buyers who possess market power, the survey had pointed.

Speaking about the consumer protection act, Paswan said it was also decided to amend the Consumer Protection Act (CPA)- 1986 to strengthen the three-tier grievance redressal system stipulated under it and include many other items such as misleading advertisements within its purview.

The amendment will help to set up a Consumser Protection Authority. The detention period of hoarders would be extended from the present six months to one year and also hoarding would be made a non-bailable offence, he said.

The country has enough foodgrain stock for the next one year, Paswan said.

To improve storage capacity and modernise the Food Corporation of India, a committee under former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Shanta Kumar has been constituted.

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