Months ahead of the 2019 general elections, the government has fast-tracked inter-state trading through the e-NaM platform. It is also looking at a host of modifications to the scheme to make it more attractive for traders and farmers to buy and sell agri produce through e-NaM.
E-NaM, or electronic National Agriculture Market, was launched in April 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the first inter-state trade happened earlier this month in tomatoes between a mandi in UP and Haldwani in Uttarakhand -- almost three years after its launch.
This was followed by inter-state trade between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on January 19 between farmers from Gadwal mandi in Telangana State, who sold 8.46 quintal of groundnut to a trader in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh.
In the next phase, officials said inter-state trading through the e-NaM platform will be facilitated between select mandis of UP and Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, select mandis of Rajasthan and Gujarat and also Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
That apart, officials said as part of the modifications, not only will inter-state trade be facilitated among more mandis, but also special price tickers will be installed in e-NaM mandis for effective price dissemination to farmers with the help of National Informatics Centre (NIC).
It also plans to depute designated personnel, to be called 'e-NaM mitra', in each mandi to hand hold and guide farmers in using the platform.
To facilitate trade between more mandis, senior officials from the Central government are holding regular interactions with state mandi board officials, traders and also farmers.
"In these interactions, we are trying to convince mandi officials to issues licenses to traders from neighbouring states so that they can freely sell their goods through e-NaM platform.
Though there has been initial hesitation, but a lot of success has also been achieved," a senior official said.
Mandi boards are encouraged to issue separate licenses to traders from other mandis for inter-state trade.
Since its launch in April 2016, the e-NaM portal has been set up in 585 Regulated Markets in 16 States and two Union Territories with trading in 124 commodities. Transactions worth almost Rs 60,000 crore have been recorded on the platform, but a sizeable number of these have been regular transactions within a mandi.
In a report submitted in February 2018, a NITI Aayog panel had found that in many mandis (APMCs), data of trading done manually was being fed into the electronic platform of E-NaM after the auction was completed, in complete violation of the concept of transparency and discovery of a fair price.
"In such APMCs strictly speaking, online auction of commodities on eNAM platform is not taking place and the data of manual trading is being recorded into the system after the auction is done offline," the panel of experts on integrating commodity spot and futures markets said, listing out the operational limitations and challenges of e-NaM.
The panel was set up by the finance ministry in 2017 and its report was given in February 2018.
The report was considered by the Union finance ministry's department of economic affairs and then put in public domain.
The panel said the details that were being fed manually into the e-auction platform included details about buyer, seller, seller’s address, commodity name, quantity and auction rate, etc.
That apart, the panel also found that many APMCs lack in operational assaying lab for grading of the commodities prior to putting them up for online auction, while a few others were pushing out commodities with large arrival volumes from e-auction due to time constraint.
The panel also found significant variation in the arrival data of AGMARKNET and e-NAM. AGMARKNET data records actual transaction data while e-NAM records the data captured at the arrival gate of the APMC.
- Total mandis --- 585
- Total farmers participated so far --- 14.4 million
- Number of commodities traded --- 124
- 16 states and 2 UTs participated