Coalition politics hampering agricultural reforms, Pawar says

Coalition politics hampering agricultural reforms, Pawar says

Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday said compulsions of multi-party government were obstructing agricultural reforms such as abolition of a law that regulates where farmers must sell their produce.

“In fact, I will be happy to take this type of bold decision. But in the present environment of Parliament, it is not that simple. Any government, which is depending on Left or Right, has some limitations," he said at a conference organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi.

Referring to the demand for abolition of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, Pawar said: “There are certain decisions which we would like to take, but unless and until the composition of Parliament is changed... which is not that easy."

The APMC Act specifies that farmers should sell their produce in select government-identified markets.

“We have succeeded in convincing 18 states to amend the APMC Act, while there is no such Act in seven states."

The minister also said that trading of some commodities in the futures market was not to be blamed for a rise in food prices.

“Price rise is a different issue. There is mismatch between demand and supply. Futures is not responsible for this price rise," he said.

Pawar said a fairly large number of parliamentarians, irrespective of political parties, were insisting on a ban on trading of wheat, rice and pulses in the commodity futures. “It is difficult to convince a sizeable section in the Parliament," he said, adding that some of the items which were available for the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd and other agencies have been withdrawn as there was a demand for it.