Fadnavis-led CMs’ panel mulls incentives for states to reform agriculture

Economy


The high-powered committee of chief ministers on transformation of agriculture will deliberate 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.

Besides, the committee may also suggest changes in the Essential Commodities Act to make agricultural marketing and infrastructure attractive for private investments.

The committee, formed after a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the recently held governing council meeting of NITI Aayog, will hold its first meeting on Thursday to lay out a comprehensive time-bound roadmap for implementation of these agriculture reforms by states. PM is the chairman of the Aayog.

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Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis-led nine member committee is expected to submit it report in two months’ time.

A senior government official told ET that the government has already introduced enough reforms in agriculture through model legislations. However, all states will have to adopt these and fully implement them if we want to transform agriculture for doubling farmers’ income.

“The idea of this committee is to see how states can be made to implement all the reforms which are already in place,” the official added.

The committee would examine provisions of Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 and 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.



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