The Budget shows the government's intent and commitment in addressing some of the daunting challenges faced by the agriculture sector, which contributes about one-sixth of the country's GDP. The vision of a national market will help remove market distortions and create a level-playing field for stakeholders in addition to increasing efficiencies. India has close to 7,114 regulated markets, including 2,483 main market yards and 4,631 sub-market yards.
Creating a national market for agriculture would ease out supply concerns as it would increase both buyers' access to markets and increase farmers' realisation. The introduction of the goods and services tax will be a concrete step towards creating national agri-markets. The proposal to set aside Rs 5,000 crore for the development of scientific warehousing is a welcome step. Importantly, the 'Digital India' programme, which envisages broadband connectivity at village-level along with Kisan Television, will help in providing real-time information on various issues related to farming and agriculture.
Sameer Shah MD & CEO, NCDEX