Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced setting up of a Rs 1 lakh crore agri infrastructure fund for farm-gate infrastructure.
This fund will be used for setting up cold chains and post-harvest management infrastructure, she said while announcing the third tranche of COVID-19 relief package.
"Financing facility of Rs 1,00,000 crore will be provided for funding agriculture infrastructure projects at farm-gate and aggregation points. Impetus for development pf farm-gate and aggregation point, affordable and financially viable post-harvest management infrastructure," says Sitharaman.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman informed the media that the government procured farm produces worth Rs 74,300 crore (as per Minimum Support Price) to improve liquidity for farmers.
She also said that funds transfer worth Rs 18,700 crores has been done under PM KISAN Samman Yojna in the past 2 months and PM Kisan Bima Yojna claims totaling 6,400 cr cleared in last 2 months.
She also announced a Rs 10,000 crore scheme for formalisation of micro food enterprises (MFE). The scheme will be launched to help 2 lakh MFEs by adopting cluster-based approach such as mango in Uttar Pradesh, kesar in Jammu & Kashmir, bamboo shoots in North-East, chilli in Andhra Pradesh, tapioca in Tamil Nadu. This fund would help in reaching untapped export markets in view of improved health consciousness.
She said that unorganised MFEs units need technical upgradation to attain FSSAI food standards, build brands and marketing. The scheme will help two lakh MFEs attain the goals.
The existing micro food enterprises, farmer producer organisation, self-help groups (SHGs) and cooperatives will be supported. The scheme is expected to improve health and safety standards, integration with retail markets among others.
Sitharaman announces Rs 20,000 cr for aqua culture, infrastructure for fisheries to help raise fish production, exports.
To promote herbal cultivation in India, the government has commited Rs 4,000 crore. The move is aimed at increasing herbal cultivation to 10 lakh hectare in 2 years. A corridor of medicinal plants will also come up across banks of River Ganga.
In a major announcement, the government extended Operation Greens from Tomatoes, Onion and Potatoes (TOP) to all fruits and vegetables. Operation Greens was a project aimed to stabilise the supply of tomato, onion and potato crops (TOP crops) in India, as well as to ensure their availability around the country, year-round without price volatility.
Rs 500 cr allocated for beekeeping initiatives to benefit 2 lakh beekeepers in rural areas, says Sitharaman.
On Thursday, Sitharaman said that migrant workers who do not have either central or state PDS cards would be given free food grain supply for next two months among others.
The minister’s announcements on Wednesday (day 1) included six measures for the MSME ssector, two for EPF, two for NBFC and MFI sector, one for discoms, one for contractors, one for real estate sector, and three tax measures.
The Prime Minister had on Tuesday announced a Rs 20 lakh crore special economic package for the country to become 'self-reliant' and deal with COVID-19 crisis.