In a move that is likely to expedite foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail sector in the Capital, the Delhi Government on Friday began the process of easing norms that will permit retailers to directly purchase the produce from farmers.
"We have held consultation with various stakeholders on the issue. A meeting was held on Friday with the traders so that their interest as well that of the consumers are taken care of," said public works department minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, who looks after the functioning of various mandis (wholesale hubs).
As per existing provisions, farmers cannot sell their produce directly to retailers as it has to be routed through the mandis operated by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC).
Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had said that FDI in multi-brand retail would be implemented in the city by the next financial year.
Delhi government officials said, they have to make amendments in the APMC Act to break the monopoly of wholesale traders so that retailers can directly buy agricultural produce from farmers.
As per the FDI policy approved by the Cabinet, the final authority for granting trade licence rests with the states under their respective Shops and Establishment Acts.
To break the monopoly of Azadpur Mandi, one of the largest fruit and vegetable wholesale markets in India, the government is also considering setting up a state-of-the-art market that will be equipped with the latest technology and cold storage facility for marketing of farm produce.
Officials said they were considering setting up a wholesale market in Tikri Khud in west Delhi where it has around 72 acres of land available.
"Traders will be allowed to operate from there and we may even consider allowing foreign retail giants to set up shops in the area. The Public Works Department will be responsible for the construction," said a senior Delhi government official.