New Delhi, Mar 15: The Economic Survey 2011-12 presented today in Parliament has suggested several steps to address concerns on the issue of rising food prices:
• As a strategy, regular imports of agriculture commodities in relatively smaller quantities with an upper ceiling on total quantity could be considered. The upper ceiling can be decided annually, relatively well in advance, after assessing the likely domestic situation in terms of production and consumption requirements.
• Setting up special markets for special crops in states/regions/areas producing those crops would facilitate supply of superior commodities to the consumers.
• Improved Mandi governance is an area of concern. A greater number of traders must be allowed as agents in mandis. Anyone who gets better prices and terms outside the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) or its farmgate should be allowed to do so.
• For promoting interstate trade, a commodity for which market fee has been paid once must not be subjected to subsequent market fee in other markets including that for transaction in other states. Only user charges linked to services provided may be levied for subsequent transactions.
• Perishable food items could be taken out of ambit of the APMC Act. The Government regulatory mandis sometimes prevent retailers from integrating their enterprises with those of farmers. In view of this perishable may have to be exempted from this regulation.
• FDI in multi brand retail should be implemented .
• The Government should step up creation of modern storage facilities for food grains.