Agriculture Minister slams UPA for not implementing Swaminathan report

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Friday took a dig at the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for not implementing the M.S. Swaminathan committee’s recommendations to increase farmers’ income.

He said farmers’ income can be doubled if different aspects of agriculture reforms are implemented in “mission mode”.

“We have been asked why our government has not implemented the Swaminathan report. It has become the opposition parties’ profession. However, those asking this question should know that the Modi government has been ruling for just three years and not for sixty years,” he said, without making any direct reference to the Congress, during a Ficci event here.

“In 2003, Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had come up with a model Act to reform agriculture markets. However, nothing happened in the next 10 years. They (Congress) sat on the recommendations when they were in power,” the minister said.

The final report on farmers’ income was submitted by the Swaminathan committee to the central government in 2006, in which it sought 50 per cent profit above input cost among other recommendations.

He added that the central government was undertaking speedy reforms to ensure remunerative prices to farmers.

“Our government is working in the direction to increase farmers’ income. If all components of reforms are implemented on mission mode, farmers’ income can be increased by not just 50 per cent but 100 per cent,” he said.

Singh said he was aware that farmers were not getting remunerative prices for their agriculture produce.

“We have sent road-map to states in order to double farmers’ income by 2022. We have taken several initiatives such as integrated marketing, electronic marketing, private and direct marketing,” he said.

Singh added that 455 markets were linked to each other through electronic marketing platform — e-National Agriculture Marketing (eNAM).

“We expect 585 markets will come under eNAM by March 2018,” he said.

The eNAM can bring farmers closer to consumers and ensure remunerative prices for their produce.

The new model Act –Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (APLM) Act –proposes to allow direct marketing, private marketing, promotion of eNAM along with a cap on the market fee.

So far, 15 states have shown interest in adopting the reforms suggested in the APLM Act.

–IANS

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