APMC Act may be revised to curb cartelisation

With a view to prevent traders from indulging in cartelisastion, the inter-ministerial group (IMG) on inflation is considering a review of the APMC Act. The review would also look at ways to promote freer movement of essential commodities. 

The act provides for regulation of agricultural produce markets to put in place an efficient mechanism for buying and selling of agricultural commodities.

According to an official, the panel would focus attention on marketing of products, especially agriculture and food products. This would narrow the gap between the farmers' income and consumers' outgo.

The overall inflation was up marginally in February to 8.31 per cent from 8.23 per cent a month ago and last week, the RBI in its quarterly monetary policy increased short-term lending and borrowing rates by 25 basis points each in a bid to contain inflation.

According to the official, space needed to be created for small traders to freely bring their products from farm to retail outlets. He said the competition law needed to be used very carefully to allow small traders to bring in their products.

The government had last month, set up the inter-ministerial group (IMG) to suggest measures to gain control over spiralling prices, especially of food articles.

The IMG, is headed by chief economic adviser in the finance ministry Kaushik Basu. It has seven-point terms of reference which include studying trends in international production and stocks, besides reviewing prices of major commodities and making recommendations for fiscal, monetary, administrative measures.