By Vipin Agnihotri
The Yogi Adityanath government is ready to bring in the Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Produce and Live Stock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act aimed at liberalizing the agriculture market and assisting farmers to get a better price for their produce.
The government will table the bill during the state legislature’s budget session beginning Thursday. The law department has already cleared the draft bill that will be put before the cabinet very soon for its nod, before being tabled on the floor of either house of the legislature.
“Principal secretary, agriculture, has been asked to keep the bill ready to table it during the forthcoming budget session only,” agriculture production commissioner, RP Singh said, adding “The proposed act will come with far-reaching changes benefiting farmers in a big way.”
The proposed APLM Act that will replace the five-decade old Agriculture Production and Marketing Committee Act has been drafted in the light of the Model Act circulated by the Centre to all the states a year ago.
“The provision of the act which will be similar in all the states is the agriculture market’s GST, seeking to achieve the objective of one nation, one tax,” a senior Mandi Parishad official dealing with the issue said. “This will abolish trade barriers and fragmentation of market within the state by removing the concept of notified market area,” he added.
The enactment of the law is expected to throw the gates wide open for corporates to set up private mandis/yards in cities and direct purchase centres in villages helping farmers get choices and discover a better price, rather than depend on the monopolised government mandis to sell their produce.
The proposed act also seeks to democratize the functioning of the agriculture produce marketing committees (mandi samits) and the state market board by introducing the concept of an election to elect their office bearers.
“After the act comes into effect, the mandi samits will be freed from the bureaucratic hold since there will be popular elections with farmers as the voters,” the official said. The elected representatives heads and not the government will decide as to where to spend the income earned by mandi samits/board.
The state election commission is likely to hold elections to the marketing committees/board in the manner as may be prescribed in the Act.
The efforts for abolition of the states’ respective APMC Act replacing them with a uniform Act throughout the country are said to be initiated first in 1999. And this is after around two decades of the various governments at the Centre pushing the states that all states are now enacting their Acts on the basis of the Centre’s Model Act.