Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act in India : An Overview | Kalpeshkumar L Gupta


Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act in India : An Overview
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Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act in India : An Overview

Agriculture Produce Market Committee Act in India : An Overview
- Dr. Kalpeshkumar L Gupta

Everyday we go to buy vegetables and fruits from nearby vendors. Have we thought of the chain how buying and selling happens in agriculture market and finally reach to our area? In this pandemic, some days we could not get the vegetables and fruits because the local vendors could not get the same from the main market which is known as APMC Market (Agriculture Produce Market Committee). In local words it is called as Mandi. APMC facilitates farmers to sale their produce through auction to the traders at the APMC market yard which is regulated by the law which saves them from being exploited and get the good price for their sale. Every state is managing agriculture produce through APMC backed by state enacted laws. APMC is not a new concept, it was initiated in British period. Few acts and regulations were made to facilitate buying and selling of agriculture produce. Government of India also prepared model bill before independence and circulated to states but not materialised. 

Some of the state laws are listed below.

Tamil Nadu - The Tamil Nadu Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1959
Rajasthan - Rajasthan Agriculture Produce Market Act, 1961
Gujarat - Gujarat Agriculture Produce Market Act, 1963
Maharashtra - The Maharashtra Agricultural Produce Marketing (Development & Regulation) Act, 1963
Madhya Pradesh – Krishi Upaj Mandi Adhiniyam, 1972
Delhi - The Delhi Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Act, 1998 

Ministry of Agriculture proposed a model act on The State Agriculture Produce Marketing (Development & Regulation Act, 2003) to bring reform in agriculture market.

The draft model legislation titled the State Agricultural Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2003, provides for establishment of Private Markets/ yards, Direct Purchase Centres, Consumer/Farmers Markets for direct sale and promotion of Public Private Partnership in the management and development of agricultural markets in the country. It also provides for separate constitution for Special Markets for commodities like Onions, Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers etc. A separate chapter has been included in the legislation to regulate and promote contract-farming arrangements in the country. It provides for prohibition of commission agency in any transaction of agricultural commodities with the producers. It redefines the role of present Agricultural Produce Market Committee to promote alternative marketing system, contract farming, direct marketing and farmers/consumers markets. It also redefines the role of State Agricultural Marketing Boards to promote standardization, grading, quality certification, market led extension and training of farmers and market functionaries in marketing related areas. Provision has also been made in the Act for constitution of State Agricultural Produce Marketing Standards Bureau for promotion of Grading, Standardization and Quality Certification of Agricultural Produce. This would facilitate pledge financing, E-trading, direct purchasing, export, forward/future trading and introduction of negotiable warehousing receipt system in respect of agricultural commodities

In February 2017, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & FW, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare prepared draft template of Model [Model “The State/UT Agriculture Produce Marketing (Development & Regulation)Act, 2016”] Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act to facilitate the States/UTs to help them to undertake reforms and invited comments/suggestions thereon from all stakeholder, academician and general public.

In April, 2017, Ministry of Agriculture released Model Act, “The State/UT Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2017” for introducing creative disruption in the current agricultural market environment of the country.

Preamble of the Model Act is as follows

An Act to provide for geographically restriction-free trade transaction of agricultural produce including livestock across the State/Union Territory (UT) and country; to give freedom to the agriculturists to sell their produce across time and space; to enhance transparency in trade operations and price settlement mechanism through adoption of electronic and other innovative form of technology; to promote emergence of multiple channels for competitive marketing, agri-processing and agricultural export ; to encourage investments in development of markets and marketing infrastructure in the State/UT of _____________; and whereas it is expedient to put in place facilitative regulation, professional management and conducive policy framework therefor and purposes connected therewith and to lay down procedures and systems thereto. 

Be it enacted by the ____________ State Legislature in the sixty eight year of the Republic of India as follows :

Followings are the chapters in the above Act

Chapter 1 – Preliminary
Chapter 2 – Establishment of Markets
Chapter 3 – Constitution of Market Committee
Chapter 4 – Conduct of Business and Powers and Duties of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary and Market Committee
Chapter 5 – Staff of Market Committee
Chapter 6 – E-trading
Chapter 7 – Regulation of Trading
Chapter 8 – Budget and Market Committee Fund
Chapter 9 – Constitution of State/UT Agricultural Marketing Board
Chapter 10 – Appointment of Director, Power and Functions
Chapter 11 – Penalties 
Chapter 12 – Control
Chapter 13 – Rules and Bye Laws
Chapter 14 – Repeal and Savings

Recent Scenario :- 

Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare launched the e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) platform in January 2019 for integration of APMC. Till date 1000 APMCs have been integrated on the platform who have carried out requisite reforms in their State Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee Act. States desirous of linking their mandis with e-NAM are required to carry out 3 marketing reforms in their APMC Act i.e. Single point levy of mandi fee, Unified trade license valid across all mandis of State and Provision of e-auction.  After carrying out reforms, States are required to propose their wholesale regulated markets for integration with e-NAM platform based on States priorities, which are then considered by Government of India for integration.  States / UTs, which either do not have marketing regulation or have one which is not in force, must identify Institution with legally enforceable guidelines, which will develop the appropriate physical infrastructure and put in place facilitatory provisions required for e-trading on e-NAM platform including registration of traders/farmers.   

Recently few states UP, MP and Gujarat made amendment in their respective APMC Act acting in the interest of farmers. Gujarat Government recently promulgated an Ordinance (No. 3 of 2020) amending the Gujarat Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1963. It will be called as Gujarat Agricultural Produce Markets (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

As per newly inserted Section 28AA which mentioned waiver of entrance fees on vehicles which may enter into market yard from agriculturist seller. Chapter IVAA provides for E-Trading. Section 11A provides for Establishment of Market Committee and Market Yard of National Importance. Section 31V provides for a licensee of private market yard desirous of integrating with e-trading portal, may apply through the State Government or its agency to the Central Government in such manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government.  
Section 31ZB. (1) All notified agricultural produce shall ordinarily be sold in the principal market yards, sub-market yards and market sub-yards, private market yards or at the electronic trading platforms licenced under this Act:

Major concern regarding this amendment is that now farmers can sell their produce without entering into market yard and this will benefit traders only not the farmers. Niyantrit Bazar Sangh (NBS), an association of all 207 APMCs of the state, shot a letter to the govt. alleging that the amendment has been done to benefit traders at the cost of farmers. Rajkot APMC Chairman D K Sakhiya said. “When a trader purchases the crop from farmers through market yard, it is our responsibility that the latter gets his payment. But in the new system, if traders cheat the farmers, there are no accountability.”  Representatives of the various associations are planning for next course of action (Times of India, May 23, 2020)

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