FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces 11 steps for agriculture and allied activities

FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces 11 steps for agriculture and allied activities
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced the third tranche of economic stimulus during a Press Conference in New Delhi.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced the third tranche of economic stimulus during a Press Conference in New Delhi. The tranche is a part of the Rs 20 lakh crore package that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in wake of COVID -19.

At the start of the conference, FM Sitharaman said that today's tranche will focus on agriculture and allied activities. She said, in total 11 measures for Indian farmers will be announced of which 8 are related strengthening to logistics and storage and 3 related to governance (government and administration).


Details on Agriculture and Allied Activities

Agri-Infrastructure for farm-gate infrastructure for farmers: Rs 1 lakh crore will be provided for funding agriculture infrastructure projects at farm-gate and aggregation points like the cold chain, storage centres, yards, harvest facilities. Impetus will be given on the development of farm-gate and aggregation point, affordable and financially viable post-harvest management infrastructure.

Micro Food Enterprises (MFEs): A fund of Rs 10,000 crore will be allocated for the formalization of micro food enterprises. The scheme seeks to promote PM Narendra Modi's vision, "Vocal for local with global outreach". The scheme will seek technical up-gradation of the unorganised MFEs to attain FSSAI food standards, build brands and marketing. A scheme will be launched to help 2 lakh MFEs to attain the above goals. The fund will also help MFEs to market India's organic, herbal, nutritional, health-based items to the world. The cluster-based approach will be adopted under the scheme depending on location and it will have a focus on women, SCs/STs and aspirational areas.

Matsya Sampada Yojana: A fund of Rs 20,000 crore will be created for fishermen through Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY). The government will launch the PMMSY for integrated sustainable, inclusive development of marine and inland fisheries. Of this fund, Rs 11,000 crore will be used for activities in marine, inland fisheries and aquaculture and remaining Rs 9,000 crore for creation of infrastructure like fishing harbours, cold chains and markets among others. It will lead to additional fish production of 70 lakh tonnes over 5 years and employ over 55 lakh people. It will help in doubling exports to Rs 1 lakh crore. The focus will be given on islands, Himalayan states, north-east and aspirational districts.

National Animal Disease Control Programme: National animal disease control programme for foot and mouth disease and brucellosis has been launched with a total outlay of Rs 13,343 crore. The programme will ensure 100 per cent vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population. Till date, 1.5 crore cows and buffaloes have been tagged and vaccinated.

Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund: The government will spend Rs 15,000 crore on the creation of dairy infrastructure. Private investment will be allowed in dairy infrastructure development fund. The fund will be created to support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.

Promotion of Herbal Cultivation: To promote herbal cultivation in India, the government has created a fund of Rs 4,000 crore. 10 lakh hectare will be covered under herbal cultivation in the next two years. It will lead to earning of an additional Rs 5,000 crore of the farmers associated with the sector. A corridor of medicinal plants will also come up across banks of River Ganga.

Beekeeping Initiatives: Beekeeping increases yield and quality through pollination and a fund of Rs 500 crore has been allocated for beekeeping. The fund will benefit 2 lakh beekeepers in the rural areas of the country. The move is likely to lift the rural economy. The government will implement a scheme for infrastructure development related to integrated beekeeping development centres, collection, marketing and storage centres

TOP (Tomatoes, Onion and Potatoes) to TOTAL: Additional Rs 500 crores has been allocated for supply chains that have been disrupted by the lockdown. This scheme will have a 50 per cent subsidy on transportation from surplus to deficient markets and 50 per cent subsidy on storage, including cold storages. The measure will ensure better price realization to farmers, reduce wastage and affordability of products for consumers.

Reforms related to Governance

Agriculture Marketing Reforms to Provide Marketing Choices to Farmers: Government to bring in a law to implement agriculture marketing reforms to provide marketing choices to farmers; the law will provide adequate choices to the farmer to sell produce at an attractive price. Under the plan, the inter-state trade will be made barrier-free and e-trade of produce will be facilitated.

Agriculture Produce Price and Quality Assurance: To assure farmer on Agriculture Produce Price and Quality, the facilitative legal framework will be created to enable farmers for engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters etc fairly and transparently. Farmers lack an enforceable standard mechanism for predictable prices of crops at the time of sowing. The private sector investment in the provision of inputs and knowhow in the agriculture sector hindered. Risk mitigation for farmers assured returns and quality standardisation shall form an integral part of the framework.

Essential Commodities Act (1955) amended: Government will amend the Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers. To tackle an abundance of crops, Agriculture foodstuff including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato will be deregulated.

Ms Sitharaman has already announced several measures in the last two days to boost the economy and bring relief to the people facing hardship due to Coronavirus outbreak in the country.

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