The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Panel seeks cutbacks in farm subsidy

New Delhi, Nov. 23: Ficci’s task force on agriculture today met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee seeking a host of market reforms, including cutbacks in farm subsidies, permitting privately owned wholesale markets, removal of restrictions on storage and movement of farm products and dilution of the milk and milk products order.

Vajpayee is reported to have suggested that Ficci executives try to build up a consensus on these issues with state governments.

Ficci’s presentation sets a series of objectives for a new farm policy — raising the agriculture growth rate to 4 per cent in the next five years, generate more farm employment opportunities, reduce poverty levels and give “freedom” to farmers to maximise his income.

The task force also reiterated the need for public investment in agriculture infrastructure and private investment in all stages of the value chain in agriculture. It also asked the government to consider and accept major policy suggestions in areas of procurement and storage, minimum support price, marketing and distribution, horticulture and value addition.

It wants the government to give per hectare cash subsidy instead of various indirect subsidies, delink food security from support price operations and disposal of excess foodstocks through tenders immediately after crop harvest.

It also sought replacement of myriad laws and standards which often militate against each other by a single body of legislation.

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