AMARAVATI: The fate of Agriculture Market Committees is hanging in balance after the Centre brought in new legislations.
The market committees are likely to lose massive revenues as they will be losing control over the sale of agriculture produces in the state. The traders, who have been illegally moving the stocks to outside the state in the name of farmers to evade taxes, are expected to get a free hand.
Although YSRC backed the Bill in Parliament during the recently concluded session, officials are wondering how to save market committees and their revenues.
Major market committees have been surviving by levying one percent cess on transactions held within the market committee jurisdiction. Interestingly, traders, who pick up the stock from farmers, would pay the cess and not pose any burden on cultivators.
According to official sources, market committees were making a revenue of around 550-600 crore annually in the form of market cess. The removal of regulatory control of market committees on the sale of agriculture produces is likely to put an end to the collection of cess resulting in loss of revenue.
In fact, many market committees were providing interest-free loans to farmers under Rythu Bandhu scheme from the revenues available in the respective treasuries of the committees. The market committees were also using the funds for construction of link roads in the villages, godowns for storage of agriculture produces.
For instance, Guntur Agriculture Market Committee, considered to be biggest in the country, is pocketing anywhere around 100 crore every year by facilitating chilli transactions. “It is not clear what will be the fate of this market committee if the commission agents system is completely removed,” said a market committee official.
Curiously, there is heavy competition among ruling party leaders to grab posts of chairpersons of market committees keeping in view of its revenues. Such competition will also come to an end once the committees are wound up.