The government will set up a Rs 1 trillion fund for agriculture infrastructure and amend a decades-old law to deregulate how farmers sell their produce, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday.
“The aim is to get money into the hands of our farmers,” she said as she announced the government’s third set of stimulus measures. She listed 11 measures at a press conference in Delhi, after announcing earlier in the week a plan to provide free food grains to millions of migrant workers hardest hit by a weeks-long lockdown as well as offer employment under a rural jobs programme.
Government sets up Rs 1 trillion Agri-Infrastructure Fund, which will focus on short-term crop loan and investment in long-term agriculture infra. The fund will be used for setting up cold chains and post-harvest management infrastructure.
Government says will improve storage of farm produce, has provided Rs 1 trillion for aggregators, primary agriculture organisations, farmer producer organisations for strengthening infrastructure
Rs 10,000 crore scheme for formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE) announced.
Government announces Rs 20,000 crore for fisher folk. It will spend Rs 11,000 cr for activities in marine, inland fisheries and aquaculture and Rs 9,000 cr on infrastructure development. Investments will lead to additional fish production of 7 million tonnes over 5 years and create employment for over 5.5 million persons, it says.
National Animal Disease Control Programme for foot and mouth disease and Brucellosis launched with total outlay of Rs 13,343 crore. Animal Husbandry Development Fund worth Rs 15,000 cr to be set up.
Rs 4000 crore allocated for promotion of herbal cultivation. 10,000 hectare will be covered under herbal cultivation in two years with outlay of Rs 4,000 crore. Government says plan will lead to Rs 5000 crore income generation for farmers
Beekeeping initiative worth Rs 500 crore. Infrastructure development related to Integrated Beekeeping Development Centre, collection, marketing and storage centres to be developed. Government says steps will lead to increase in income for 200,000 beekeepers
Finance Minister proposes to amend the decades-old Essential Commodities Act to enable better price for farmers. Agriculture foodstuff, including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes to be deregulated. Stock limit to be imposed under exception circumstance. No stock limit to apply to processors or value chain participants
A central law to "provide adequate choice to farmers to sell produce at an attractive price" and without barriers on inter-state trading, says government. Currently, farmers are bound to sell produce only to licensees in Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC). Government proposes framework for e-trading of agriculture produce.
"Facilitative legal framework will be created to enable farmers for engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters,” says the Finance Minister.
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