Cabinet may clear Ordinance on APMC reforms on Thursday

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The State Cabinet, scheduled to meet on Thursday, is expected to clear the Ordinance to bring in agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) reforms, which the government says are aimed at facilitating market access for farmers during the prevailing lockdown.

The Cabinet is expected to take decisions on further relaxations of lockdown norms from May 18. The third phase of the lockdown ends on May 17.

Governor Vajubhai R. Vala has reportedly returned the Ordinance to the APMC Act and directed the government to get it approved in the State Cabinet. Sources in the Cooperation Department told The Hindu that the Cabinet was expected to clear the Ordinance on Thursday.

Centre’s push

Following the Centre’s suggestion to States, the Karnataka government has proposed to take the Ordinance route to bring in amendments to the APMC Act and adopt the Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017, of the Centre.

While BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have made amendments to the APMC Act, Karnataka is expected to follow the Centre’s suggestion to adopt the model Act, sources said.

The proposed Ordinance is aimed at bypassing the APMC Act by removing restrictions on sale of farm produce and helping farmers severely hit by the COVID-19 induced lockdown, the government claimed. In fact, many farmers have been providing door delivery of their produce in residential complexes in cities. The Opposition parties in the State have opposed the government move by calling it “anti-farmer” and stating that it will benefit only MNC retail chains and supermarkets.

Another package

The Cabinet is expected to clear another small package to cover workers who had been left out from the ₹1,610-crore package announced last week.

Since the government is keen on operating inter-district KSRTC buses and BMTC buses in Bengaluru soon after May 17, the Cabinet is likely to discuss modalities of bus transport to enable employees to go to offices, official sources said.

With the term of the gram panchayats scheduled to end on May 24, the issue of extending the tenure of GPs is also likely to figure in the State Cabinet meeting scheduled at 4 p.m.

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