New Delhi: Maharashtra has occupied the top position, followed by Gujarat and Rajasthan, in pursuing farmer friendly policies, as per the NITI Aayog's ease of doing agri business index.
The Aayog's 'Agriculture Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index' was based on initiatives taken by the states in implementing farm sector reforms.
"Maharashtra achieves first rank in implementation of various reforms. The state has implemented most of the marketing reforms and it offers best environment for doing agri business among all the states and UTs," an official statement said.
It further said almost two-third of the states including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Assam, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and J&K, have done poorly with regard to agri-sector reforms.
Some of the states and UTs like Bihar, Kerala and Manipur are not included in the ranking because they either did not adopt APMC or revoked it.
As per the states' score in the Index, Madhya Pradesh ranked fourth, followed by Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Goa and Chattisgarh.
The Index is aimed at helping the states to identify and address problems in the farm sector, which suffer from low growth, low farm income and agrarian distress.
The areas identified for action by NITI Aayog with a view to double farm income include agriculture market reforms, land lease reform, and reforms related to forestry on private land.
"Detailed study of the reforms in various states and UTs show that reforms have remained patchy, partial, sporadic and implemented in very diluted form," the statement added.
The index is based on implementation of seven provisions proposed under the model APMC Act, joining eNam (National Agriculture Market) initiative, special treatment to fruits and vegetables for marketing and level of taxes in mandis.
These indicators, it said, reveal ease of doing agri business as well as opportunities for farmers to benefit from modern trade and commerce and having wider options for sale of their produce. They also represent competitiveness, efficiency, and transparency in agri markets.
Releasing the report, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said reforms in 1991 did not focus on the agri sector.
"One effort was made in 2003 through the model APMC Act reform and some progress was made but not enough and that has led to gap between industry and services on one hand and agri on other hand," he added.