Agriculture being the state subject, the Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis-led nine member committee has deliberated upon ways to incentivise states to fully implement the major reforms in agriculture introduced in the past including some key legislations to attract private investments in the sector at its first meeting.
The committee, formed after a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the recently held governing council meeting of NITI Aayog, in its first meeting decided to come up with a comprehensive time-bound roadmap for implementation of these agriculture reforms by states.
“The committee will seek view from all member states by August 7 following which NITI Aayog will make a comprehensive presentation on ways to transform agriculture. This will be discussed and a new agriculture policy will be given shape in the second meeting of the committee on August 16,”Fadnavis said after the four-hour long meeting.
According to Fadnavis, the committee will come up with a background paper and a comprehensive agriculture policy to transform the sector after taking all states on board. “The policy will focus on ways to enhance investment credit in the sector,” he added.
The committee also examined provisions of Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 and will suggest changes to attract private investments in agricultural marketing and infrastructure. Centre is of the view that the Essential Commodities Act, in its present form, is deterring investment in agricultural marketing as it imposes stocking limits. Hence, the committee is expected to look at a policy directive in this regard so that investors have enough confidence about the provisions of the Act.
Narendra Modi-led NDA government had in its first term introduced the Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2017 and the Agriculture Produce and Livestock, Contract Farming and Services (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2018. However, few states have adopted these legislations and very few of them have implemented them on the ground.
Government is seized of the fact that private investments are needed in agriculture to develop modern market infrastructure, value chains and logistics. However, lack of adequate reforms in the sector has kept private investments out of the sector.