The Government has allocated Rs 200 crore for three years, in a move to set up an online national agriculture market by integrating 585 wholesale markets across India that would help farmers realise better prices.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had on Wednesday approved a Central Sector Scheme for Promotion of National Agricultural Market through Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund.
"An amount of Rs 200 crore has been earmarked for the scheme from 2015-16 to 2017-18," an official statement said.
The Department of Agriculture will set it up by creation of a common electronic platform deployable in selected regulated markets across the country.
"Now there will be one licence for entire state, there will be single point levy. There will be electronic auctions for price discovery. The impact will be that the entire state will become a market and the fragmented markets within the states would be abolished," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters.
Under the scheme, 585 selected regulated markets would be covered. The plan is to cover 250 mandis in current fiscal, 200 mandis in 2016-17 and 135 mandis in 2017-18.
"Seamless transfer of agriculture commodities within the state can take place. The market size for farmers would increase as he won't be limited to a captive market," Jaitley said.
The Rs 200 crore allocations includes provision for supplying software free of cost by agriculture department to the states and UTs and for cost of related hardware/ infrastructure to be subsidised by the Centre up to Rs 30 lakh per Mandi (other than for private mandis).
Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain informed that Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Gujarat have already agreed to join the Scheme, while Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are "very keen" to particuipate. Besides, the Centre is also in discussions with Uttar Pradesh.
Unifying the markets both at state and the national level would provide better price to farmers, improve supply chain, reduce wastages and create a unified national market through provision of the common e-platform, the statement said.