Amidst the hoopla over the electronic trading platform eNAM for agri products, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and advertised as a "big game changer", commodity watchers and experts say mechanism has inherent limits and conflicts are bound to rise between states and the central government.
"The basic purpose of eNAM is to ensure transparency in buying and selling of agri-commodities. But this may not happen anytime soon," Binu Alex, Editorial Director of Commodity Online, said in national capital.
"Most importantly the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) remains a state subject. So conflicts are bound to happen. First, the government should have centralised APMCs and put a cabinet rank minister to cater to commerce part of agriculture," Alex added.
Others are, however, more optimistic than Ahmedabad-based longtime commodity watcher Alex, and say the National Agriculture Market (eNAM) launched on Thursday will benefit farmers immensely.
"This is a big game changer certainly. We are glad eight states have the mandis and some more have already amended their APMC Acts and are ready to come on board. eNAM will actually be an answer to price volatility farmers often face," says B. Basavraj of Karnataka Pradesh Gram Growers Association.
The union agriculture ministry says eNAM is an online platform but should not be mistaken as a parallel marketing structure.
"It is a tool to create a national network of physical mandis which can be accessed online," explained Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
eNAM will leverage the physical infrastructure of mandis through an online trading portal, enabling buyers situated even outside the state to participate in trading at the local level.
The mechanism proposes to integrate 585 regulated wholesale markets or APMCs under one electronic platform by 2018.
It will let farmers to sell their produce to highest bidders.
It will primarily aim at integrating 21 mandis in eight states - Uttar Pradesh (six), Gujarat (three), Telangana (five), Rajasthan (one), Madhya Pradesh (one), Haryana (two), Jharkhand (one) and Himachal Pradesh (two).