New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday proposed amendments to the Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers, and said no stock limit should apply to processors or value chain participants.
The EC Act 1955 was enacted in days of scarcity. The government will amend it. Agriculture food stuff including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes will be deregulated and stock limits will be imposed under exceptional circumstances, she said.
"We need to enable better price realisation for farmers by attracting investments and making agriculture sector competitive. Stock limits will apply under very exceptional circumstances like national calamities or famines with a surge in prices."
The Finance Minister also proposed another radical agriculture marketing reform for providing marketing choices to farmers.
"A central law will be formulated to provide adequate choice to farmers to sell produce at an attractive price. A farmer should have no barriers for inter-state trade and there should be a framework for e-trading of agriculture produce," she said.
At the moment, farmers are bound to seel agriculture produce only to licensees in the agricultural produce market committee. Such restriction is not there for industrial products, said Sitharaman.Besides, she proposed a legal framework for agriculture produce price and quality assurance. At present, farmers lack an enforceable standard mechanism for predictable prices of crops at the time of sowing.
As a result, private sector investment in the provision of inputs and know-how is hindered.
"The facilitative legal framework will be created to enable farmers for engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers and exporters. Risk mitigation for farmers, assured returns and quality standardisation will form an integral part of the framework," said Sitharaman.
"In today's situation, if a challenge can be treated as an opportunity to improve the system and bring new technology for the benefit of farmers and people, then why not do it?" (ANI)