NEW DELHI, APR 3: The Centre is likely to request states to waive the market fee on perishable products to help them avail of the benefits of a subsidy scheme to set up modern agricultural markets. The issue is likely to be discussed at a bi-annual meeting on the Kharif season in April.
The central government, to develop and strengthen agricultural marketing infrastructure, provides subsidy of 25 per cent of the capital cost of the project, with a maximum limit of `50 lakh.
“The state agriculture marketing boards and agencies, which have been notified under the scheme may be requested to submit new projects to modernise existing marketing infrastructure with the help of the subsidy scheme,” said a draft prepared for the meeting. The states which levy market fee on perishable products would not be eligible for the scheme.
The meeting is also expected to discuss the need to enhance the capacity of storehouses in rural ares of Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Goa, Jharkhand, Kerala and the North-Eastern states. “States of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have more than 60 per cent capacity of godowns in rural areas and in other areas, it needs to pick up,” the draft said.
The two-day conference is also expected to discuss other issues, including the need to improve rice production in eastern India. Rice, oilseeds, pulses and maze are some of the primary crops grown in the Kharif season, sowing for which starts around June.
The government had launched the rural godown scheme in 2001, which was modified in 2008. Under this scheme, the central government provides subsidy of 25 per cent to all categories of farmers, farm graduates, cooperatives and central and state warehousing corporations to set up such godowns. All other individuals, companies and corporations get a subsidy of 15 per cent. Since the scheme was introduced, 23,047 rural godowns were allocated, with a capacity of 274.13 lakh tonnes and subsidy release of `672 crore.