Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will head a new high-powered committee to recommend structural reforms in Indian agriculture, including changes to the way farmers market their produce, and norms for contract farming and essential commodities. It will suggest measures to attract private investment and modernise the agricultural market system.
The Chief Ministers of Karnataka, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh, and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will also be members of the committee, according to an official statement from Niti Aayog on Monday. It will submit its report in two months.
The creation of the panel was originally announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at last month’s Niti Aayog Governing Council meeting.
The committee of Chief Ministers has been asked to “discuss measures for transformation of agriculture and raising farmers’ income.” It will also suggest modalities for adoption and time bound implementation of reforms by States and union territories.
Up for discussion are two model Acts circulated by the Centre to States: the model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2017 and the model Agriculture Produce and Livestock, Contract Farming and Services (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2018.
The panel will also examine various provisions of the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 and suggest changes which will attract private investment in agricultural marketing and infrastructure. It will also suggest a mechanism for linking market reforms with existing centrally-sponsored schemes such as e-NAM.
The panel will suggest measures to boost agricultural exports, to upgrade agri-technology, and attract investments in value chains, logistics and market infrastructure. They will also leverage farmers’ access to quality seed, plant propagation material and farm machinery from advanced countries.