Ending the monopoly of the government-run Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and allowing private entities to set up their own market committees or sub-market yards in the state, the Gujarat state assembly on Friday passed the Gujarat Agricultural Produce Market (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
The new Bill for the amendment was presented in the house by the minister of state (MoS) for cooperation, Ishwarsinh Patel. It was passed in the House on the basis of majority.
The new Bill restricts the jurisdiction of APMCs to the physical boundaries of their respective marketing yards. According to the provisions of the bill, the APMC can now, levy CESS only on those transactions, happening within the boundary walls of their marketing yard.
Earlier, an APMC had jurisdiction over an entire or more than one taluka.
The current law provided that the farmers and traders of a particular taluka had to compulsorily sell their produce to their respective APMCs. Apart from that, APMCs levied a CESS on any transaction that happened within the marketing yard of the APMC or outside it.
Friday's bill permits for setting up of private markets. Privately owned old storages or warehouses can now be converted into a sub-market yard or a private market that can compete with the APMCs. The farmers on their own can also set up private markets themselves.
"Our government plans to save the smaller APMCs from the negative competition from private markets by bringing in a rule that will not allow the setting up of a private market within a five-kilometre radius of an existing APMC. Also to protect them, the government will collect 20% cess from private players and reroute 14% of it back to the APMCs," said Ishwarsinh Patel.
According to the provisions of the new Bill, the traders can participate in trading activities anywhere in the state through a unified single trading licence.
It will allow multiple traders to attract the farmers depending on the quality of their produce and offer competitive prices without the restriction of place and area jurisdiction.
Opposing the Bill, the opposition party Congress staged a walkout rom the house, chanting slogans like 'Remove the black law.'