New Delhi [India], June 24 (ANI): The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a series of decisions to boost infrastructure sector including setting up of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) of Rs 15,000 crore, declaration of Kushinagar Airport in UP as International Airport and additional investment by ONGC Videsh (OVL) towards further development of Shwe oil and gas project in Myanmar.
Briefing the media about the decisions of union cabinet, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved an additional investment of USD 121.27 million (about Rs 909 crore) by OVL towards further development of Shwe oil and gas project in Myanmar.
OVL has been associated with exploration and development of Shwe gas project in Myanmar since 2002 as part of a consortium of companies from South Korea, India and Myanmar. The Indian PSU, GAIL, is also a co-investor in this project.
The participation of Indian PSUs in oil and gas exploration and development projects in neighbouring countries is aligned with India's Act East Policy and is also part of India's strategy to develop energy bridges with its neighbours in addition to further strengthening India's energy security needs.
An official release said that OVL has invested US$ 722 million (about Rs 3949 crores, as per corresponding average annual exchange rate) till March 31, 2019, in this project. The first gas from Shwe Project was received in July 2013 and plateau production was reached in December 2014. The project has been generating positive cash flows since 2014-15.
In another decision, the Cabinet approved setting up of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) amounting to Rs 15,000 crore in pursuance of recently announced Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan stimulus package.
The release said the government had earlier approved Dairy Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) worth Rs 10,000 crore for incentivizing investment by cooperative sector for the development of dairy infrastructure. It said the MSMEs and private companies also need to be promoted and incentivized for their participation in processing and value addition infrastructure in the animal husbandry sector.
"The AHIDF approved today would incentive infrastructure investments in dairy, meat processing and animal feed plants. The eligible beneficiaries under the scheme would be Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), MSMEs, Section 8 companies, private companies and individual entrepreneurs with only 10 per cent margin money contribution by them. The balance 90 per cent would be loan component to be made available to them by scheduled banks," the release said.
The government will provide four per cent interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries from the aspirational districts and three per cent for beneficiaries from other districts.
There will be two year moratorium period for repayment of the loan with six years repayment period thereafter.
The central government would also set up a Credit Guarantee Fund of Rs 750 crore to be managed by NABARD which would provide credit guarantee to the projects which are covered under the MSME defined ceilings. Guarantee Coverage would be up to 25 per cent of the credit facility of the borrower.
The release said there is huge potential waiting to be unlocked through private sector investment in the animal husbandry sector.
It said that since almost 50-60 per cent of the final value of dairy output in India flows back to farmers, the growth in this sector can have a significant direct impact on farmer's income.
Size of the dairy market and farmers' realization from milk sales are closely linked with the development of organized off-take by cooperative and private dairies.
"The investment of Rs 15,000 crore through AHIDF would not only leverage several times more private investment but would also motivate farmers to invest more on inputs thereby driving higher productivity leading to an increase in farmers income. The measures approved today through AHIDF would also help in direct and indirect livelihood creation for about 35 lakh persons," the release said.
Referring to the decision to declare Kushinagar airport in Uttar Pradesh as International Airport, the release said it is regarded as a very sacred Buddhist pilgrimage centre where Buddhists pilgrims from all over the world come for a pilgrimage. Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana after his death here. Kushinagar is dotted with several other Buddhist sites in nearby surroundings like Sravasti (238 km), Kapilvastu (190 km) and Lumbini (195 km) that make it an attraction for both followers and visitors alike.
The release said that the Buddhist Circuit is a key pilgrimage destination for 530 million practising Buddhists across the globe and declaration of Kushinagar Airport as an 'International Airport' will offer improved connectivity, a wider choice of services at competitive costs to the air-travellers resulting in a boost to tourism and economic development of the region.
The release said that around 200-300 devotees from countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Japan and Burma come and offer their prayers at Kushinagar on a given day. (ANI)