India’s Finance Commission recently decided to form a group to formulate a mechanism in order to incentivise state governments for carrying out the agri-reforms announced as part of the special stimulus package of the Indian government.
A decision in this regard was taken by 15th Finance Commission Chairman N K Singh in a meeting with the country’s Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and senior officials.
The group’s views would be incorporated in the Commission’s final report, an official statement said.
The group consists of:
• Finance Commission member Ramesh Chand
• Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal
• Agriculture, Research and Education Secretary T Mahapatra
The group has been set up “to devise a mechanism for incentivisation of states in areas of agricultural reforms agenda for the purpose of inclusion in the Commission’s recommendations in its final report”, it said.
The discussion in the meeting covered recent agriculture-related reforms including barrier-free trade and amendment to the Essential Commodities Act announced by the Indian government.
Moreover, the Agriculture Ministry made a detailed presentation on recent steps taken by the government for the upliftment of the sector.
“While India imports over USD 20 billion in agriculture products, it still maintains a significant trade surplus of USD 18 billion,” it said.
India’s top 50 commodities and agriculture products make up nearly 75 per cent of its total exports. The South Asian nation has a competitive edge over other countries in agriculture as its diverse agro-climatic conditions creates diverse crop portfolio potential. However, India is only ranked 11th globally in terms of agriculture exports, it added.
It may be mentioned here that the 15th Finance Commission is required to submit two reports. The first report was tabled in Parliament on February 1, 2020, while the final report would be submitted by October 30, 2020.