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Digital Mandis Good in Spirit but Flawed in Implementation: Farmers' Unions

The reality, according to activists, is that there is nothing happening on the ground. Funds given as grant under the scheme were used to acquire technology like moisture content equipment but farmers do not know how to use it.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:December 5, 2017, 1:49 PM IST
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Digital Mandis Good in Spirit but Flawed in Implementation: Farmers' Unions
Picture for representational purpose. (Photo courtesy: YouTube/ MyGov India)
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New Delhi: In order to unify markets and bring about online trading the central government had launched eNAM (Economic National Agriculture Market), an initiative which was talked up by PM Narendra Modi at the recently concluded HT Leadership Summit.

The reality, according to activists, is that there is nothing happening on the ground. Funds given as grant under the scheme were used to acquire technology like moisture content equipment but farmers do not know how to use it.

The initiative also has no system in place to resolve disputes that could arise over prices.

Ramandeep Singh Mann, a farmer from Punjab said, "Digital Mandi is good in spirit but falls flat during implementation. Agriculture is a state subject and right not all states have enrolled in it. For example, Punjab is not a part of it. The Centre should have gone about this the way they took states on board for the Goods and Services Tax."

The Narendra Modi-led government started eNAM as a pan-India electronic trading portal, which seeks to network the existing Agriculture Produce Market Committee and other market yards to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.

NAM is a "virtual" market but it has a physical market (mandi) at the back end. For the operation of NAM Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, the government has appointed Small Farmers' Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) as the lead Implementing agency of NAM.

The states interested in joining eNAM have to meet three conditions – create a specific provision for electronic trading, make single trading licenses valid for trading in all mandis and have a single point levy of a transaction fee.

The government, though, has given assurance that the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) will not lose out to eNAM. "APMC clauses hinder interstate as well as intra-state trade. That needs to change," said Mann.

Kedar Sirohi from Aam Kisan Union of Madhya Pradesh said, "Although there is an emphasis on single licenses, we cannot trade in multi locations. There is a disparity in mandi tax among states. This lack of uniformity is hampering any benefit that the farmer can hope to get. Also, there is no agency for quality determination."
| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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