Agriculture reforms announced by FM will prove as gamechanger, says NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand

New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand on Friday termed three reforms in agriculture sector as a 'gamechanger' and asserted that amendments in the Essential Commodity Act (ECA) will remove the fear of investors from investing in agriculture.

"There was a demand for reform in the Essential Commodity Act for the last 30 years. The power of policies is stronger than the power of money. Three reforms announced today will prove as a gamechanger," Chand told ANI.

"Nobody wants to set up cold storage. Organised private investment is very much needed in the agriculture sector. The change in the Essential Commodity (EC) Act will remove the fear from investors that the EC Act may be imposed on them for more storage," he said.

Chand said that the agricultural harvest is normal and there is no downfall in agricultural produce. "There were problems regarding mangoes, tomatoes in few pockets, but you can't call it as a national problem. That is the issue of states and concerned states can look into it," he said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced Rs one lakh crore financial assistance to fund agriculture infrastructure projects at farm-gate and aggregation points.

She also announced three major reforms in the agricultural sector- amendments to Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers, agriculture Marketing Reforms to provide marketing choices to farmers and Agriculture Produce Price and Quality Assurance.

"Today is the situation of the country in which everything other than agriculture has stopped... Regarding agriculture, it has been given necessary response. The Finance Minister has made full arrangements to buy fertiliser and seeds to farmers," he added.

Speaking further, Chand said: "Those who are talking about increasing Rs 6,000 under the PM Kisan scheme should understand that the financial condition of the government is not good. The government's resources and GST collection has significantly reduced."

"Today, the situation is such that production in all sectors except agriculture has come to a halt for 1.5 months. If you ask the farmers today, they will also say that labourers and factories that are closed, are suffering the most and need immediate help," he added.

Chand said that farmers can sell their crops from Kashmir to Kanyakumari under one nation and one market.

"So far, under the APMC Act, farmers can sell their produce in a single market. Farmers will get a good price and their income will be doubled and investment will come in agriculture," he said. (ANI)