NITI Aayog and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare jointly conducted a one day national consultation with States and UTs on Reforms in Agriculture. The three important areas of reform namely (i) agricultural marketing reforms (ii) laws related to felling, transportation and processing of farm forestry produce and (iii) land leasing for agricultural purposes were discussed in the meeting. The meeting was attended by Principal Secretaries in-charge of Agriculture marketing, Forest and Revenue Departments of the States. The Vice chairman, NITI Aayog while inaugurating the consultation stressed that reform will be the key for enhancing agricultural prosperity and should be the part of vision for 15 years being prepared by NITI Aayog. Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member (Agriculture) made a presentation on Agriculture Reforms. It was also highlighted that while reforms happened in other sectors of economy post 1990-91 liberalization, the agriculture witnessed patchy and half done reforms. The Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare mentioned that the reform process started in 2000 which faced a slow down after the initial years. He stated that in order to promote emergence of alternative channels and encourage investment in development of marketing and cold chain infrastructures. DAC has been advocating States to provide complete freedom to the farmers to sell their fruits and vegetables to the buyer of their choice in the notified market area with the additional option to sell the produce in the main yard, wherever they get better prices. Although 14 States have initiated reforms in varied models, States need to adopt the model which is more beneficial for them.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Department of Land Resources were also represented by the senior officials. Additional Secretary, DAC&FW also made a presentation on status of reforms in APMC act and progress of e-NAM.
The States overwhelmingly supported the views of the NITI Aayog and Ministry and pitched for the reforms to be put on fast track. It was decided that DAC&FW will come out with model APMC Act soon, incorporating suggestions from States for quick action on reforms.