Tuesday 06 March 2018Lok Sabha
The Union Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley, said in his Budget Speech for 2018-19 that:
"More than 86% of our farmers are small and marginal. They are not always in a position to directly transact at APMCs and other wholesale markets. We will develop and upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs). In these GrAMs, physical infrastructure will be strengthened using MGNREGA and other Government Schemes.
These GrAMs, electronically linked to e-NAM and exempted from regulations of APMCs, will provide farmers facility to make direct sale to consumers and bulk purchasers. An Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs. 2,000 crores will be set up for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22000 Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) and 585 APMCs.
Task of connecting all eligible habitations with an all-weather road has been substantially completed, with the target date brought forward to March 2019 from March 2022. It is now time to strengthen and widen its ambit further to include major link routes which connect habitations to agricultural and rural markets (GrAMs), higher secondary schools and hospitals. Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana Phase III will include such linkages."
As per available data collected from State Agricultural Marketing Boards, the total number of rural haats in the country is 22,711, majority of which are under local institutions of Panchyati Raj of States. Hence, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, is undertaking detailed consultations at the level of States / Union Territories and concerned Ministries/Departments to assess exact number, locations, and status of infrastructure to develop and upgrade these rural haats into Gramin Agriculture Markets (GrAMs).
To facilitate the direct sale and bulk purchases from these haats, as per Union Budget 2018-19, these GrAMs are to be exempted from regulations of Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs). Since Agricultural Marketing is a State Subject, the concerned State Governments have to decide the manner in which direct sale and bulk purchases can be made from these haats.
As National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has to create the Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund, NABARD is working towards finalizing the operational guidelines and other modalities.