CM’s panel suggests changes to Essential Commodities Act

Mumbai: To give a boost to the agriculture sector, the high powered committee of chief ministers on the transformation of Indian agriculture has recommended that export development body APEDA should be made the nodal agency for all agri-related export promotions.

The committee which conducted its second meeting on Friday at state guesthouse Sahyadri here discussed a wide range of issues including production, marketing, exports, and also suggested amendments to the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) saying the regulation will be enforced only in "extreme" cases.

The CMs of Karnataka, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, UP and Madhya Pradesh are members of the committee for agriculture reforms.

"We are exporting our agri-products but its is still very little. On the other hand, various countries, who have their embassies (consulates) here in Mumbai, have appointed agri-experts to gather market intelligence.

We also need to create such a dynamic system for gathering market intelligence and get the right prices for exports," Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said during a media briefing.

Currently, all policy decisions related to export- imports are taken by the ministry of commerce, while those related to agriculture are taken by the agriculture ministry.

"As far as agriculture is concerned, if both the ministries come together then corrective measures can be taken. We felt APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority),

An autonomous body under the commerce department, should be appointed as a nodal agency to better integrate between the two ministries, which will gather market intelligence and enable export facilitation," he said.

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