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18 states join Electronic Agricultural Trading Portal eNAM (National Agriculture Market) : Government

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New Delhi, April 12, 2017: Eighteen states have joined the eNAM (National Agriculture Market) and 13 of them have made necessary amendments to rules under their respective APMC Acts within a year of its launch, the government said on Wednesday.

The eNAM is a pan-India electronic trading portal, which networks APMC (agricultural produce market committee) markets to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities, which was launched in April last year.

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NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog member Ramesh Chand on Wednesday held a review meeting here on Agriculture Market Reforms, which was attended by officials of agriculture marketing, forest and revenue departments of state governments.

“It was a review meeting to see the progress of the reforms we have undertaken and discuss the future road map. These include setting up of private markets, allowing direct marketing, contract farming, deregulation of fruit and vegetables from the provisions of the APMC Act, and eNAM,” Agriculture Ministry Additional Secretary Ashok Dalwai told the media here.

He said the state governments have shown positive interest in ushering in agricultural reforms, aimed at transparency, effectiveness and competition in agricultural trade sector and to double farmers’ incomes.

Under the private marketing reform, private players can set up their own ‘mandi’ (market) while under direct marketing farmers can sell their produce to bulk purchasers, exporters or retail customers directly by bypassing APMC markets.

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Since the eNAM was launched in April last year, at least 417 APMC markets have joined the platform with a trade of 5.9 million tonnes of 69 types of commodities.

“In just one year, quantum of business has touched Rs 15,000 crore. The value and volume of commodities is increasing day by day,” Dalwai said.

According to the ministry, 3.95 million farmers, over 88,000 traders and over 44,000 commission agent have joined the platform.

The government’s target is for a unified agriculture market for interstate trade. However, the government’s immediate plan is to form unified market at the state level first.

Dalwai said a committee was working on the requirements to integrate India’s markets.

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He said the Centre was ready with a draft model APMC law, which will act as a template for the state governments to amend their respective APMC Acts to facilitate reforms.

“The new law will create efficient market system. It will break the monopoly of any one institution and create conducive environment,” Dalwai said.

The draft is likely to be shared at a meeting to be attended by the Union Agriculture Minister on April 24.

Dalwai said Maharashtra had topped in implementing direct marketing as it issued 527 licences as against Rajasthan’s 76, Karnataka’s 37, and Gujarat’s and Telangana’s three each.

Similarly, Maharashtra has taken lead in allowing private marketing and contract farming by approving 41 and 10 proposals respectively.

“Commodities such as basmati rice, bitter gourd, chili, lady’s finger, tomato, and white onion were allowed for contract farming by the state governments. It is up to the states to decide on which commodity to be given the go-ahead,” Dalwai said. (IANS)

 

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Is Chutney out of place in Carnival?

Chutney has been able to resist the domination of calypso as the heartbeat of Carnival music

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Chutney has been able to resist the domination of calypso as the heartbeat of Carnival music. Wikimedia Commons
Chutney has been able to resist the domination of calypso as the heartbeat of Carnival music. Wikimedia Commons
  • Chutney soca music is a crossover style of music incorporating Soca elements
  • The satire on Prime Minister Rowley’s mother has been arguably the most controversial song in the history of calypso, soca and chutney in the country.
  • It is the International Chutney Queen Competition to be held on February 2 at Guaracara Park in San Fernando, the second largest city in the country

By Dr Kumar Mahabir

When people get angry, they tend to speak their mind. Their emotions explode in words that they have been suppressing for some time. Psychologist Dr Jeffrey Huntsinger proved this theory after conducting experiments at Loyala University in Chicago in the USA in 2012.

Chutney Soca promoter George Singh really spoke his mind when he became upset on learning that his 2018 show was not funded by the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB), an agency of the Afro-dominated Government in multi-ethnic Trinidad and Tobago  (T&T).

At a news conference which he convened, Singh said that “the decision by the Government not to support chutney soca was an insult to the art form” (Express 05/02/17).

George Singh is a Chutney Soca promoter. Wikimedia Commons
George Singh is a Chutney Soca promoter. Wikimedia Commons

Singh raged: “The Government, over the last three years, has consistently reduced funding to Chutney Soca Monarch and various members of the present administration have stated directly to me that chutney soca brings no value to Carnival” (emphasis added).

At the same news conference, Singh said that the Government had approved a budget of TT $146 million to the National Carnival Commission (NCC).

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“I think this administration is hell-bent on seeing that it [chutney soca] has no place in Carnival. It is a slap in the face to Indo-Caribbean entertainment,” he said.

Singh’s outburst was a public exposé of what the Indo-Trinidadian (Indian) community had always known i.e. Indian culture (e.g. chutney, pichakaree ) is given marginal or no space in “national” and regional shows (e.g. CARIFESTA).

Sing’s rant is more revealing since he has admitted that he has “family ties” to Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi (Express 27/12/17).

Carnival in Trinidad has long been the cultural preservation of the Afro-Trinidadian (African) community. Wikimedia Commons
Carnival in Trinidad has long been the cultural preservation of the Afro-Trinidadian (African) community. Wikimedia Commons

In all his anger, Singh was careful not to confirm what almost every Trinidadian suspected i.e. that Government initially denied him funding because he was allowing Massive to perform his hot chutney hit “Rowlee Mudda Count.”

The satire on Prime Minister Rowley’s mother has been arguably the most controversial song in the history of calypso, soca and chutney in the country.

I have always contended that chutney concerts, competitions, tents and fêtes must be recognised as part of Carnival and must be a given an equitable share of culture funds, media space and stage presence.

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My argument is contained in detail in a chapter entitled “Chutney Music in Carnival:

Re-defining National Identity in Trinidad and Tobago” in the book Caribbean Dynamics:

Re-configuring Caribbean Culture (2015). The book is edited by Drs Beatrice Boufoy-Bastick Savrina Chinien and published by Ian Randle in Jamaica.

In the chapter, I discussed how Carnival in Trinidad has long been the cultural preservation of the Afro-Trinidadian (African) community. To this day, the major players and champions of calypso, soca, extempo, steelpan and masquerade, whether in Jouvert (“Jour Ouvert”) or Dimanche Gras, remain participants of African descent.

The emergence of chutney music and artists in 1995 – when Basdeo Panday was elected as the first Indian Prime Minister of T&T – was historic. In 1996, the rendition of Sonny Mann’s runaway hit “Lotay La” by DJs in soca parties, and by steel bands as their Road Mach tune during Carnival signalled the advent of chutney into the national urbanized festival/centre.

Chutney is being strongly influenced by calypso and soca rhythms and dance styles. Wikimedia Commons
Chutney is being strongly influenced by calypso and soca rhythms and dance styles. Wikimedia Commons

In the following years, Indians continued to change the ontology of “the national festival” to the extent that Carnival has to be re-defined to include Chutney Monarch, Chutney Brass, Chutney Soca, Chutney Calypso, Chutney Glow and Chutney Mardi Gras.

For the first time this year, a new chutney show is being introduced to the Carnival calendar. It is the International Chutney Queen Competition to be held on February 2 at Guaracara Park in San Fernando, the second largest city in the country. The event is being hosted by Randy Glasgow Productions.

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Chutney is being strongly influenced by calypso and soca rhythms and dance styles, but the genre is also used as an alternative to the Afro-Creole music formats. There have been two institutionalised chutney calypso theatres: “D” Massive Gosine Roving Calypso/Chutney Tent and the National Chutney Calypso Touring Tent.  Now in its eighth year is the National Carnival Schools Intellectual Chutney Soca Monarch Competition held at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.

These chutney competitions cum fêtes allow Indians to gain a sense of inclusion in this grand “national” festival, although on the periphery of the capital city. These cultural incursions also allow Indians to actively participate in Carnival without losing their (sense of) ethnic identity.

Dr Kumar Mahabir is an anthropologist who has published 11 books
Dr Kumar Mahabir is an anthropologist who has published 11 books

In 1998, cultural critic Burton Sankeralli wrote: “Indians are claiming Carnival space as Indians…. [and] … The flagship of this Indocentric presence and contestation for space is chutney …” With the re-creation of chutney, Indian artists are refusing to be subjected to silence and invisibility on mainstream radio, television, newspaper and the stage.

Chutney has been able to resist the domination of calypso as the heartbeat of Carnival music. The subversive spirit of calypso and Carnival is perhaps being re-incarnated in chutney.

(Dr Kumar Mahabir is an anthropologist who has published 11 books)