New Delhi: A new ranking of states by the NITI Aayog, based on their performance in reforming agriculture marketing, land leasing and forestry on private land, has set the record straight on states’ eagerness to transform the farm sector.
According to the government think tank, while Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana take the top five spots on the list, major agrarian states Uttar Pradesh and Punjab figure in the 13th and 14th positions. Bihar and Kerala were not included in the rankings as they revoked their agricultural produce marketing Acts.
“NITI Aayog has identified reforms needed to transform the agriculture sector and help achieve the goal of doubling farm income,” it said in a statement on Monday, adding that a detailed study showed reforms have remained patchy, partial and sporadic.
The new rankings come on the back of major central initiatives to integrate the Indian farmer with markets, like an electronic national agriculture market _eNAM) and a new crop insurance scheme, both of which were rolled out this year.
According to the ‘Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’, a score of 0 implies no reforms while a score of 100 means complete reforms.
According to the Aayog’s calculation, Maharashtra tops the list with a score of 81.7, followed by Gujarat (71.5), Rajasthan (70), Madhya Pradesh (69.5) and Haryana (63.3).
“Almost two-thirds of states could not reach even the halfway mark of reforms scores,” NITI Aayog said.
These include major states like Uttar Pradesh (47.8), Punjab (43.9), West Bengal (32.5) and Tamil Nadu (17.7).
The index takes into account several parameters like states’ implementation of the model agricultural marketing Act, joining eNAM, special treatment to fruits and vegetables for marketing and the level of taxes in state-regulated mandis (wholesale markets).
These indicators reveal the ease of doing agribusiness and opportunities for farmers to benefit from modern trade, the Aayog said. It added that the indicators also reflect the levels of competitiveness, efficiency and transparency in agriculture markets.
The other parameters included in the index are relaxation in restrictions related to lease of farm land to tenant farmers, and the freedom farmers have to fell and transport trees on their own land, which allows them to diversify their incomes.