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Gujarat amends APMC Act

Topics Covered: transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Gujarat amends APMC Act

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of the ordinance, key changes.

For Mains: Significance and implications of these changes.

Context: Following the Centre’s directive to States to amend their Agricultural Produce Markets (APMC) Acts, the Gujarat government has promulgated an Ordinance expanding the purview of the Act to include livestock under agricultural produce and to provide better market access to farmers.

Changes and implications:

  1. As per the amendment, the new Act is termed Gujarat Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 1963. 
  2. The Act paves the way for establishment of a livestock market.
  3. Also, it seeks to have involvement of local authorities, including panchayati raj institutions who own and operate rural periodical markets such as haats within their area.
  4. Changed Structure of the market committee of a market yard. It is deemed to be of national importance with increased membership from farmers.
  5. A single licence will be applicable to the whole of the State for the traders to be granted or renewed by the Director. The existing trader licences granted by the market committees shall be converted into State wide single trader licence by the Director.
  6. Now, even private entities can set up their own market committees or sub-market yards that can compete and offer the best possible remuneration to farmers for their produce.
  7. The ordinance also restricts the jurisdiction of the market committees to the physical boundaries of their respective marketing yards. They can levy cess only on those transactions, happening within the boundary walls of their marketing yard.

Significance of these changes:

The changes help develop these markets to efficiently function as marketing platform nearest to the farm gate.

They also ensure that the spirit of competition is encouraged and the principle of ‘farmer first’ is kept in mind.

Also, the act removes the conventional involvement of middlemen by allowing farmers to sell their crops in a free market. This is a progressive step towards a more robust farm economy.

Sources: the Hindu.