The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 2 July 2015 gave its approval to the Central Sector Scheme for Promotion of National Agricultural Market through Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund (ATIF).
The scheme envisages creation of a common electronic platform deployable in 585 regulated markets across the country with an outlay of 200 crore rupees from 2015-16 to 2017-18.
Key characteristics of the scheme
• Common e-platforms will be set up by Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC) through the Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC). These platforms will provide farmers and traders with access to opportunities for purchase/sale of agri-commodities at optimal prices in a transparent manner across the country.
• SFAC will be the lead agency for the development of the National e-Market by the Union Ministry of Agriculture. It will implement the national e-platform in three phases with 250 mandis targeted to be integrated with e-platform in 2015-16, 200 mandis in 2016-17 and 135 mandis in 2017-18.
• DAC will meet expenses on software and its customisation for the States and provide it free of cost to the States and UTs.
• DAC will also give grant as one time fixed cost subject to the ceiling of 30 lakh rupees per Mandi for related equipment/infrastructure in the 585 regulated mandis, for installation of the e-market platform.
• Big private mandis will also be allowed access to the e-platform for purposes of price discovery. However they will not be supported with any funds for equipment / infrastructure.
• The Scheme is applicable on All-India basis and there is no State wise allocation under the Scheme though States would need to meet the pre-requisites in carrying out necessary agri-marketing reforms. These pre-requisites are:
a) a single license to be valid across the State
b) single point levy of market fee and
c) provision for electronic auction as a mode for price discovery
Integration of agri-markets across the country through the e-platform is seen as an important measure for overcoming challenges posed by the present agri-marketing system. These are fragmentation of State into multiple market areas each administered by separate APMC, multiple levy of mandi fees, requirement for multiple license for trading in different APMCs and etc.
It is with this view, the Budget of 2014 and 2015 announced to set up an Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund and a National Market. As a result, DAC formulated the scheme for Promotion of National Agriculture Market through Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund (ATIF).