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Government encourages private sector to come in a very big way to help farmers, says agriculture secretary

Government encourages private sector to come in a very big way to help farmers, says agriculture secretary
The government believes in encouraging the private sector to come in a very big way into the areas of giving fair and remunerative prices to the farmers, said Shobhana K Patnaik, agriculture secretary.
Private players should come forward to procure, stock and do value additions to oilseeds and sell it at the right appropriate price to the consumers, said Patnaik.
According to Patnaik, the government will give administrative cost support up to 15 percent to farmers if it's justifiable.
In the budget this year, the government had announced that it will put in place a fool-proof mechanism to ensure MSP to farmers. It had asked think-tank Niti Aayog to suggest a mechanism in consultation with the union agriculture ministry and states.
According to the sources, the agriculture ministry's proposal on new procurement policy 'Annadata Maulya Samrakshana Yojana' was taken up for discussion in the cabinet, and the same has been approved.
Edited Excerpts:
Big day clearly because we have seen that announcement finally go through as the markets are preparing for the Kharif arrivals. My question is about the Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme, this is the first time that this is happening. How do you look at the supporting reforms on to this one? What kind of proposals still are being awaited to ensure that this becomes a reality?
The government believes in encouraging the private sector to come in a very big way into the areas of giving fair and remunerative prices to the farmers. We are also aware that in the oilseed sector there are big players and they have got a lot of space which is available to procure, stock them and also do value addition to convert oilseeds into oil and sell it at an appropriate price to the consumers.
So, we would like to tap on their expertise as well as their willingness to participate in this venture. So for the first time in the history of our country we want to launch this new scheme which is called by the name of the Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme and when this scheme was announced we also would like to incentivise the private sector by giving them some support and they will be procuring at the MSP value.
They will be storing it and they are free to sell it at whatever point they want to at a later date. There will be no restrictions on sale, they can export, and they can do whatever they feel like.
What kind of in certification are you looking to give to them? Is it going to be on the tax part of it or some reimbursement? How is the government working on that?
The government will bear the administrative support cost up to 15 percent if it is justifiable. Secondly, the industry has been always speaking about the stock control order has been applied to it. So, to that extent, some regulatory measures which exist that will be relaxed.
Has that been worked up?
NITI Aayog has worked out that with the private sector and it will be elaborated soon. We are waiting for this arrival and it will be elaborated and will be offered to the states. The states have complete freedom in identifying the private sector to carry this out.
As you said these things are still being worked upon, we are perhaps, if not more three weeks away from the arrivals of the Kharif crop. Are more states on board as of now? What are the difficulties that you are looking at? What are the solutions that the government is working on as in plan B to ensure that the Kharif procurement on the announced MSP does actually go through?
If you see the entire bouquet of schemes which have been announced already a fair degree of consultation was taking place and it had taken place over the last three months. Almost all the states governments are on board, especially the procuring states. Therefore, the announcement itself will definitely give the signal that we are very certain that these states will be fully in a position to take advantage of the new scheme.
The Price Support Scheme (PSS) was already an existing scheme which we have modified a little bit, but the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana (BBY) scheme which is the Price Deficiency Payment (PDP) scheme some states are already aware of it.
Let us say Madhya Pradesh had already implemented on a pilot scale last year, they are fully aware of it. Haryana also has implemented in respect of commodities and many other states when the discussion took place had already expressed that they are in a position to register the farmers when they go to the mandi. There is a robust mechanism which registers the price and everything and so we are hopeful that they will take advantage of these new schemes.
I do admit that the Private Stockist Scheme is a very new concept, but the industry has been in dialogue with the NITI Aayog and I am certain few players will emerge and they will be in a position to intervene. So, we are hopeful that this will be rolled out in the coming Kharif season.
We have an MSP for perhaps 23 commodities as of now. The historical data clearly shows that it has been mostly about grains, wheat and rice, cotton to an extent, pulses has been included, and oilseeds you are very bullish on what happens to the rest of the commodities and the states which are not really the procuring states rather?
The question is, so far as grains are concerned already a policy exists and we are hopeful that jowar, bajra, ragi and some of the crops which are really very important for certain states they will take advantage of the present scheme.
All these years there was no scheme which really addressed the problems, so once you have come out with the scheme we will definitely see many other states rising to the occasion. I do admit that as on date only a few states are very proactive in the procurement front, but with the launch of this policy, almost all the states are going to get a level playing field in terms of adopting these schemes.
You would appreciate that the present umbrella scheme gives a bouquet of choices to the state. So the states have a choice and therefore they will definitely rise to the occasion.

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