Three major agri-market reforms, Modi govt finally bites the bullet

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The government announced a slew of measures for the agriculture sector, including a Rs 1.63 lakh crore outlay, and amending the stringent Essential Commodities Act to remove cereals, edible oil, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato from its purview. 

Hailing the third tranche of stimulus focusing on the agriculture and allied sector, farm industries and experts on Friday said the government has finally decided to “bite the bullet” by announcing long overdue big market reforms that would benefit both farmers and consumers. In the third set of measures under the COVID-19 package, the government on Friday announced a slew of measures for the agriculture sector, including a Rs 1.63 lakh crore outlay, and amending the stringent Essential Commodities Act (ESA) to remove cereals, edible oil, oil seeds, pulses, onions and potato from its purview. Also, a new law will be framed to give farmers the option to choose the market where they want to sell their produce by removing inter-state trade barriers and providing e-trading of agriculture produce.
“The last three of the 11 measures announced by the Finance Minister are bigger than the first eight. This should have been done in the first term of the Modi government. With three big measures, the government finally bites the bullet,” noted agricultural economist Ashok Gulati told PTI. It’s a bold reform and announcing it now shows that the government wants to convert this COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity for farmers. But it should be implemented in letter and spirit, he said.