Nearly 16 major APMCs across Maharashtra will be part of an initiative launched by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) to promote cashless transactions between farmers and traders.
As part of the initiative, the DMI, which comes under the agriculture department, will hold special meetings across these APMCs to ensure that farmers, traders, labourers and transporters open bank accounts to facilitate cashless transactions.
Under the plan of the Central agriculture ministry, nearly 186 APMCs had been selected from across the country. Of these, 16 are in 10 districts of Maharashtra. The APMCs include ones in Malegaon, Lasalgaon, Nashik, Niphad, Pune, Junnar, Nevasa, Sangli, Mumbai, Solapur, Kalyan, Jalna, Vashi, Rahuri, Kolhapur, Amravati and Nagpur.
To facilitate the move, officials of DMI will move around these APMCs. Post demonetisation, work in most APMCs in the state had suffered a severe setback. Most transactions that take place in APMCs are done using cash. The elimination of high denomination notes had put a spanner on these transactions with the farmers suffering the most.
While most APMC transactions were taking place on mutual trust with traders handing over cheques to farmers to be encashed at a later date, the farmers who were not willing to wait for delayed payments were in various locations forced to take demonetised notes instead and asked to deposit them in their bank accounts.
“We will facilitate the gradual movement where the handing over of cash is minimised. The cashless system will also ensure that the state is able to keep an eye on total transactions that take place in such markets,” a state government official said.
The DMI has also given directions that a record of all cashless transactions that take place should be kept and the data should be supplied to DMI every evening. There are around 300 APMCs across the state which regulate trade of agricultural produce and ensure that farmers are not exploited and get a fair price for their produce. While earlier, farmers could sell their produce only at APMCs, the government had recently deregulated the market.