Aug 1: Department of Food and Public Distribution under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution organized a Workshop on 30th July, 2020 in New Delhi, on the recent amendments in Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and enactment of The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Service Ordinance, 2020.
The workshop was aimed at eliciting ideas for building strategies for achieving the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat in the long run, within the changed context of liberalisation of regulatory environment for farmers, lifting of restrictions on inter and intra state trade in agriculture produce and empowering of farmers to engage directly with processors, aggregators, wholesalers, retailers, exporters. The deliberations in the workshop focused on identification of areas where intervention is required by various stakeholders (ministries, regulatory authority, private sector, cooperatives/PACs, farmers, etc.) to meet the challenges thrown up by these amendments on the system of production, storage and trading of agriculture produce/commodities, scaling up manufacturing, accelerating infrastructure development, attracting investments and promoting a consumption-led growth. The goal was to generate synergy among all stakeholders, designing strategies to promote investment to provide infrastructure and build capacities of farmers at grassroots level to achieve the specific outcome of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022.
Addressing the workshop, Shri Sudhanshu Pandey Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) emphasized that administrators need to translate the vision of leaders into reality. Eminent intellectuals and senior officers like Shri Siraj Hussein, visiting fellow ICRIER; Dr. Ashok Dalwai, Chairperson National Rainfed Area Authority; Shri Sundeep Nayak (IAS) MD National Cooperatives Development Corporation; Shri Vivek Aggarwal (IAS), Joint Secretary Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare; Shri B.B. Patnaik, ex chairperson Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority (WDRA); representatives of Industry chambers like Shri.Ramesh Doraiswamy, MD National Bulk Handling Corporation from FICCI; Shri .P.Ravichandran, President Danfoss Industries from CII; Shri Anupam Kaushik from National Collateral Management Services; Shri Kedar Deshpande MD & CEO National E-Repository Limited delivered lectures, highlighting sectoral requirements for policy interventions. Also present in the workshop were Shri Petluri Srinivas, Chairperson WDRA; Shri T.K. Manoj Kumar (IAS), Secretary WDRA; Shri Rabindra Aggarwal (IAS) ED Procurement Food Corporation of India (FCI); Ms. Nandita Gupta, Joint Secretary (Storage), DFPD; Shri Arun Srivastava, MD Central Warehousing Corporation and Shri N.K. Grover, MD Central Railside Warehousing Company.
An informed discussion took place and various suggestions emerged from the workshop like mandatory registration of warehouses with WDRA, foundation of aggregate platforms for agro-commodities trading, setting up of an Agricultural Council on the lines of GST council for dispute resolution, investment on cold storage and mechanised transportation, farm gate logistics, etc. The Secretary DFPD in his concluding remarks stated that suggestions that emerged from the workshop would be concretised within a time period of three months.