The ordinance promulgated recently to promote inter-State and intra-State trade in farmers’ produce, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, has spread a scare within the marketing department in the State as it will render it and the agriculture marketing committees irrelevant.
The ordinance, which makes a provision for trading in agriculture produce almost anywhere outside the market yards, has put a big question mark on the very existence of the employees in the department.
The top officials in the department are now busy preparing a road map for the immediate future by collecting all details with regard to income and expenditure of the committees at district level and strength of employees at different levels. The road map with appropriate suggestions will be submitted to the government seeking its positive action.
If trading takes place outside the market yards, the market committees will be deprived of their income in the shape of one per cent cess on transactions. If this happens, likely from the coming trading season, employees of the marketing committees will have their source of salary dried up.
In the last trading season, the market committees in Adilabad cumulatively earned about ₹15 crore as cess on cotton trading by the Cotton Corporation of India alone. Thanks to the ordinance, the CCI will carry on with trading in ginning mills itself instead of coming to agriculture market yards, according to insiders.
The beginning of austerity measures in the marketing department indicates that it is scared of uncertainty in future. It has also suspended all developmental activities that take place through funding from marketing funds.
“The State earns an income of about ₹360 crore from marketing fee every year. The expenditure comes to about ₹125 crore that includes ₹50 crore towards salaries of 834 employees, ₹44 crore towards pensions of 2,600 retired employees and ₹34 crore as salaries of outsourcing personnel,” revealed a source in the department as he tried to present a clearer picture.