As many as 186 agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) across the country are now part of a special drive run by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) to promote cashless payments.
The special drive is being run in the wake of the demonetisation move of the government to ensure that there are no glitches in payments. At least 16 APMCs from 10 districts of Maharashtra are part of this special campaign, which will be run for a fortnight. After the government scrapped high-value currency notes on November 8, it has become imperative for the APMCs to conduct daily business through cashless transactions.
Some of the markets in Maharashtra had remained shut for a few days to find ways and means to resolve the issue. However, the markets slowly started opening up and are now conducting payments through cheques, NEFT, RTGS and demand drafts.
According to Milind Akare, MD, Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB), the National Agriculture Market (NAM) has already been in existence and all the APMCs across the country are expected to become part of NAM. If a trader from one APMC wishes to make a purchase from an APMC in another state, cashless payments would bring in speed and transparency and therefore a special drive is being run by the DMI, Akare said.
The effort has been to select APMCs with bank branches on their premises with direct connection with farmers to study the requirements and challenges that come up while making cashless payments. Efforts are being made to monitor these payments and ensure that there are no glitches in the system, he said.
The DMI is an attached office of the ministry of agriculture. It was set up in 1935 to implement the agricultural marketing policies and programmes of the central government.
In the first phase of the project which began on November 28, APMCs from Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chhatisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal will be part of the drive.
In Maharashtra, APMCs in Lasalgaon, Niphad, Pune, Junnar, Nevasa, Sangli, Mumbai, Solapur, Kalyan, Jalna, Vashi, Rahuri, Kolhapur, Amravati and Nagpur have been selected for promoting the cashless payments drive. Around 43 markets in Madhya Pradesh, 32 markets in Karnataka, 22 markets in Punjab and 12 markets in Gujarat are part of this effort.