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Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces third tranche of economic revival package focussing on agriculture, major reforms announced

The Essential Commodities Act will be amendments and reforms will be brought to Agriculture Marketing to remove barriers for farmers to get proper price

On Friday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the third tranche of Modi government’s “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” package worth Rs 20 lakh crores to restart the economy following the coronavirus lockdown.

In her first address, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced comprehensive relief measures on Wednesday to support various sectors including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Discoms, NBFCs, Micro Insurance Institutions, etc.

In the first tranche, the Modi government had announced 16 included six measures for MSMEs, EPF, NBFCs and MFIs, discoms, contractors, real estate sector and had also put out some tax measures.

Later, on Thursday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had declared the second tranche of the “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” package that included relief measures to migrant workers, street vendors, housing, employment generation for tribals and small farmers.

Third tranche of announcements under “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” economic package

Finance Minister Sitharaman on Friday said that the third tranche of the announcement will focus on Agriculture and Allied Activities – fisheries, animal husbandry, dairy, etc.

The Finance Minister announced eleven measures, out of which 8 will be aimed at building better capacities and allocation for ramping up storage and logistics. The remaining 3 are governance and administrative reforms, she added.

At the outset of the announcement, Finance Minister announced that during lockdown provisions were made to conclude rabi crop harvest and some states have gone ahead largely with procurement process while observing social distancing. Agricultural work was supported during the two months of lockdown, FM Sitharaman added.

“It goes to the credit of the Indian farmer who has always stood up to various challenges and has made India reach certain global benchmarks,” said Finance Minister.

FM Sitharaman said that funds worth Rs 18,700 crores has been done transferred under PM KISAN in past 2 months and PM Fasal Bima Yojana claims worth Rs 6,400 crores released in past two months.

The Modi government also said that Rs 74,300 crore worth of produce was purchased under Minimum Support Price during lockdown

Image Source: PIB

Agri Infrastructure Fund

The Modi government announced that it will immediately create a Rs 1 lakh crore Agri-Infrastructure Fund for farm gate infrastructure for farmers.

Finance Minister said that Rs 1 lakh crore will be dedicated for aggregators, primary agriculture societies for strengthening the farmgate infrastructures, which includes cold chains, storage centres, yards, etc.

“Impetus for development affordable and financially viable Post Harvest Management infrastructure will be given,” announced FM Sitharaman.

Image Source: PIB

Support for Micro Food Enterprises (MFE)

Additional Rs 10,000 crore is dedicated by the Modi government for micro food enterprises (MFEs) in a cluster-based approach, announced FM.

She added that the government is aiming to implement PM’s vision of ‘Vocal for Local with Global outreach’, a scheme will be launched to help 2 lakh Micro Food Enterprises

“Branding, modernising and capacity ramp-up will be part. This will benefit 2 lakh MFEs. The focus will be on women, ST/SCs. Will look at regional clusters,” the FM added.

Through the scheme, existing SHGs, MFEs, farm producer organisations will be supported, the Finance Minister announced. She added that the formalisation will be done on a cluster-based approach, like for Bihar it can be on makhanas, for Kashmir saffron, etc.

Image Source: PIB

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana

Government to launch Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for integrated, sustainable, inclusive development of marine and inland fisheries to plug critical gaps in fisheries value chain.

The Finance Minister announced that under the scheme logistics capacities for activities related to marine and inland fisheries will be developed. The schemed intends to provide employment to 55 lakh in the sector, which is expected to contribute Rs 1 lakh crore to India’s exports.

“The mission will help in better standards, new fishing vessels, harbours, insurance for fishermen and boats and will lead to an additional 70 lakh tonnes over the next 5 years. It is to empower people to make a livelihood for themselves. Making sure India is helped to stand on its own,” said FM Sitharaman.

An amount of Rs 20,000 crores will be earmarked for fisheries. As part of this scheme, Rs 11,000 has been assigned for marine, inland fisheries and aquaculture and Rs 9,000 crore for infrastructures such as fishing harbour, cold chains and fish markets.

Focus will be on Islands, Himalayan states, North-east and Aspirational districts, added Finance Minister.

Image Source: PIB

Support for Animal Husbandry sector

The Modi government announced an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund worth Rs. 15,000 crore to support private investment in Dairy Processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.

National Animal Disease Control Programme has been launched with a total outlay of Rs 13,343 crores for 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population in India.

The Finance Minister also said that incentives to be given for establishing plants for export of niche products.

Image Source: PIB

Promotion for Herbal cultivation

To promote Herbal Cultivation in India, the Modi government announced to commit Rs 4000 crore. The move aims to cover 10 lakh hectare under herbal cultivation in 2 years.

The support will generate income of Rs 5,000 crore for local farmers engaged in this cultivation, said Finance Minister.

FM Sitharaman also said National Medicinal Plant Board will undertake 800 hectares of areas in the corridors of river Ganga for growing of herbal and medical plants.

Image Source: PIB

Beekeeping initiatives

The Modi Government announced that they will implement a scheme for infrastructure development related to Beekeeping. The scheme aims to increase income for 2 lakh beekeepers with special thrust on capacity building of women.

The Finance Minister said that scheme will include infrastructure, capacity building, marketing and export support.

Through the scheme. the development of quality nucleus stock and bee breeders will be undertaken.

Image Source: PIB

Extension of Operation GREEN

In a major announcement, Finance Minister said that government has extended Operation Greens from Tomatoes, Onion and Potatoes (TOP) to all fruits and vegetables.

The Finance Minister said that the pilot extended for the next six months and will be expanded further. She added that scheme will provide 50% subsidy for transportation and 50% subsidy for storage including cold storage included.

Image Source: PIB

Amendment to Essential Commodities Act

The government also stated that it will amend the Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers. Addition to that, the agriculture food stuffs including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato will be deregulated, announced FM Sitharaman.

Stock limit to be imposed under exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famine with surge in prices, she added.

Image Source: PIB

Reforms to Agriculture Marketing

The Finance Minister also said that the government will bring in a law to implement agriculture marketing reforms to provide marketing choices to farmers. The law will provide adequate choices to farmers to sell produce at an attractive price.

The government of India is working on a central law to provide farmers with inter-state trade free of barriers, a framework for e-trading of agriculture produce and adequate choices for them to sell produce at an attractive price. At present farmers are allowed to sell only to select licensees in selected agricultural markets in their own states, which limits choices for the farmers. The new law will remove the inter-state barriers in trade in farm produces.

Image Source: PIB

‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ – A mission for self-reliance

In his fifth address to the nation over the Coronavirus pandemic, on Tuesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an economic package under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ amounting Rs 20 lakh crore to revamp the economy which is facing a serious crisis due to the Chinese epidemic. The economic package includes the recent announcements made by the government and the Reserve Bank of India on supporting key sectors of the country.

In his speech, PM Modi said the economic package would be around the 10 per cent of the GDP.

“I announce a special economic package today. This will play an important role in the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. The announcements made by the government on coronavirus, decisions of RBI and today’s package totals to Rs 20 lakh crore. This is 10 per cent of India’s GDP,” PM Narendra Modi said. 

The Prime Minister also said the package would help every section of society, including workers, farmers, the middle class, industrial units and the MSME sector.

The stimulus will play an important role in the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ (Self-reliant India Campaign), PM Modi said.

“India’s self-reliance will be based on five pillars — economy, infrastructure, technology-driven system, vibrant demography and demand. When India speaks of self-reliance, it does not advocate for a self-centred system. In India’s self-reliance there is a concern for the whole world’s happiness, cooperation and peace,” PM Modi said in his address.

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