Modi government is almost ready with it plan to create an Amazon for agri products
When the Centre completes its ambitious programme of connecting all large 585 agriculture produce marketing committees (APMCs) or regulated mandis to eNational Agriculture Market (eNAM) by the end of next month, it will fully establish an Amazon or Flipkart for agri produce.
The eNAM should act as the technology platform for millions of farmers to sell their produce, and remove the intermediaries APMCs were known to create - something the World Bank always resented while calling out for sweeping reforms in India's mandi markets. In his Budget speech last Thursday, finance minister Arun Jaitely, said 470 APMCs have already been connected to eNAM network. That leaves another 115 mandis to go online in about two months. Not many would remember what has turned out to be an ambitious programme for the NDA regime today actually began in a modest way at the APMC in Kalaburagi in December 2011.
The district is represented in Lok Sabha by Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress floor leader in the Lok Sabha.
The man who came up with the concept but began in a small way in Kalaburagi is R Ramaseshan, a former IAS officer from Karnataka. He established India's first online platform, not when he was a government servant, but after resigning from the IAS and becoming the CEO of NCDEX. He believed only a technologyled market design can create a national market for agriculture and save farmers from distress sale. But he was not sure how APMCs would receive the idea as there has always been strong lobbies controlling them. Ramaseshan, now advisor to NCDEX eMarkets, told ET so much of progress with eNAM had been possible because of the initial support he received from the Karnataka government when the idea was still in its infancy. . The success of the pilot led to neighbouring Telangana (then undivided AP) asking him to replicate it in its regulated mandis. There are about 7,000 mandis in the country with about 5,000 of them being small and medium ones. The rest are either large or medium ones.
According to Ramaseshan, making regulated markets competitive and functional, to realise the intent of a national agricultural market system is the need of the hour. "This and the proposed institutional mechanism for price and demand forecast and use of futures and options, if implemented on the ground, could go a long way in increasing farmer income," he said. Ameaningful eNAM can happen only when price bids occur online, and the price is discovered through competition. At eNAM, most of the time, the data is captured after the price is decided, said a sector expert. "Even today, people are not bidding through the platform because they are unsure of the quality of the produce they are bidding for. eNAM markets are yet to invest in and build a credible quality-assaying mechanism. In one state, they are entering the data in eNAM portal of the produce bought through market intervention (MSP operation)," a senior commodity market official, who did not want to be identified.
By BOA Bureau