Singh said in Lok Sabha that the government has approved a central sector scheme 'Promotion of National Agriculture Market' (NAM) through Agri-Tech Infrastructure Fund (ATIF) on July 1 last year with a budget allocation of Rs. 200 crores. "Under the scheme, a pan-India electronic trading portal (e-NAM) will be deployed in 585 regulated wholesale markets across the country by March 2018," he said during Question Hour.
Singh said the e-NAM portal was launched on April 14 on a pilot basis integrating 21 mandis in eight states. Eligible states desirous of integrating their Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee markets to NAM platform could send their proposals to the government for consideration and for release of assistance, the Minister said.
"The government provides grant as one-time fixed cost, subject to the ceiling of Rs. 30 lakh per mandi for related equipment, infrastructure and software free of cost," he said.
Singh said the NAM platform, when fully operational, is expected to benefit the farmers with more options for selling their produce and competitive returns, the local traders with access to larger national market for secondary trading, the bulk buyers and processors.
Exporters will get opportunity for direct participation in the local mandi trade thereby reducing intermediation cost, consumers with stable prices and availability and reduce the burden of APMCs in accounting and other paper works with chances of better market fee recovery, he said.
Under NAM, the states are supported financially at the rate of Rs 30 lakh per APMC market to upgrade the market infrastructure and participate on NAM platform. This assistance is in addition to the free supply of software and other support given to the state governments to enable them to join e-auction platform, the Minister said.