The Centre endeavors of widening the electronic trading platform of e-NAM in more states and along with it a high-powered panel of experts tries to integrate commodity spot and futures markets that has found that data of trading done manually is being fed into the electronic platform after the auction is completed in many mandis (APMCs).
This is in violation of the concept of transparency and fair price discovery.
“In APMCs, strictly speaking, online auction of commodities on the eNAM platform is not taking place and the data of manual trading is being recorded in the system after the auction is done offline,” the panel said, listing out the operational limitations and challenges of e-NAM.
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Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand chaired the committee. Its report was submitted to the government in February. The report has been considered by the Union finance ministry’s department of economic affairs and is now in the public domain for comments.
The panel has discovered that several APMCs (agricultural produce market committees) do not have operational assaying labs for grading commodities prior to putting them up for online auction.
“Though some of the labs do have some basic instruments like moisture meter and weighing machine, this is a major deficiency noticed in the majority of APMCs thereby affecting the prospect of introducing an online trading platform in APMCs,” the panel’s report said.
E-NAM has always been Narendra Modi’s pet project, where he tried integrating 585 mandis through a national electronic platform by March 31, 2018. As of December 2017, around 470 markets were integrated with the e-NAM platform. Till a few months ago, 16.69 million tonnes were traded on the platform valued at Rs 422.65 billion.
However, the government should be ensuring adequate storage facilities to the APMCs so that the cost effective warehousing is provided to the farmers in averting distress selling. This will extend benefits to the farmers and e-NAM will attain its full benefits, as advocated by the panel.
“Auctions should take place simultaneously on one common electronic platform in all APMC markets, as well as in private markets, as and when they come to be established,” the panel’s report said.