Around 25,000 traders spread across 247 wholesale agricultural markets (mandis) in Rajasthan
are planning a five-day strike, beginning this Saturday. State agriculture ministry officials said they were not aware of any such development.
The traders’ body says it wants an increase in the permitted trade margins, discontinuation of online agri markets, and withdrawal of foodgrain from futures trading, amongst others.
In Rajasthan, the trade agents (artiyas) are paid 2 per cent margin for commodities they handle.
Owing to the Centre’s decision to expand Minimum Support Price buying beyond the usual wheat, mustard seed and chana (gram) to cotton and moong (yellow lentil), their role and income has fallen.
“We have demanded artiyas’ margins be increased to 2.5 per cent. Apart from that, all agri commodities currently under futures trading on online exchanges
should be discontinued immediately. We have also urged the government to suspend the electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM). Abolishment of digital weighing and double taxation in some commodities have been some of the other demands we have been putting forth before the government since May,” said Babulal Gupta, president, Rajasthan
Khadya Padarth Vyapar Sangh, a Jaipur-based apex body of agri traders.
The e-NAM system is currently facilitating agri trading in 25 mandis across Rajasthan.
Additionally, traders have demanded exemption from mandi tax on oilseed, sugar and edible oil.