New Delhi, May 15: On the third day of detailing the mega Rs 20 lakh crore economic package, under the Centre's Self-Reliant India Movement or Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan which was earlier announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced eight measures and three reforms for the agriculture sector and allied activities such as fisheries, beekeeping, animal husbandry and milk production. PM Narendra Modi Lauds Economic Measures Announced by Nirmala Sitharaman to Mitigate Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Economy.
To Strengthen Agriculture Infrastructure:
Sitharaman announced setting up a Rs 1 lakh crore fund to boost agricultural infrastructure in the country. "In a move to strengthen infrastructure in agriculture, financing facility of Rs. 1 lakh crore will be provided for funding Agriculture Infrastructure Projects at farm-gate and aggregation points like cold chains and storage," Sitharaman said.
For Micro Food Enterprises:
Nirmala Sitharaman announced a scheme worth Rs 10,000 crore for Micro Food Enterprises. The scheme will be launched to help almost 2 lakh micro food enterprises undertake technical up-gradation, meet good food standards, build brands and market their produce. "The scheme promotes PM Narendra Modi's vision of 'Vocal for Local' with global outreach," she said.
Rs 20,000 Crore For Fishermen:
Sitharaman further announced Rs 20,000 crore under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for integrated, sustainable, inclusive development of marine and inland fisheries to plug critical gaps in the fisheries value chain. "This will provide employment to over 55 lakh persons and double exports to Rs 1 lakh crore," the Finance Minister said.
Setting Up of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund and National Animal Disease Control Programme:
To support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure, Sitharaman announced setting up Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund worth Rs. 15,000 crore. She also said the National Animal Disease Control Programme has been launched with a total outlay of Rs. 13,343 crores for 100 percent vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population in India.
Sitharaman said the government is committed to spending Rs 4000 crore to promote Herbal Cultivation in India. "The government aims to cover 10 lakh hectare under herbal cultivation in two years. The National Medicinal Plants Board will bring 800-hectare area by developing a corridor of medicinal plants along the banks of river Ganga," she asserted.
For infrastructure and development related to beekeeping, Sitharaman announced initiatives worth Rs 500 crore. "This will lead to an increase in income of two lakh bee-keepers," she said. She also extended Operation Greens to all fruits and vegetables from tomatoes, onions and potatoes.
Speaking of three reforms, Nirmala Sitharaman said the government will amend the Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers. Agriculture products including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions, and potatoes will be de-regulated, she added. The final reform is related to the formulation of a central law that will provide adequate choices to the farmers to sell produce at an attractive price, barrier-free interstate trade and framework for e-trading of agricultural produce. "A facilitative legal framework will be created to enable farmers for engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters in a fair and transparent manner," she said.
On Thursday, Sitharaman announced a slew of measures for farmers and migrant workers. She announced free food grain supply to migrants for 2 months and loans, interest subventions and cheap housing for farmers and lower-middle-class people. PM Narendra Modi Says Measures Announced by Nirmala Sitharaman Will Benefit Farmers And Migrants.
Sitharaman had in the first tranche on Wednesday said there would be a collateral-free loan programme for 45 lakh MSMEs, backed by a Rs 3 lakh crore credit guarantee fund, and some other measures, including Rs 20,000 crore subordinate debt and Rs 10,000 crore equity fund. She had also revised definition of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and slashed rates for Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and Tax Collected at Source (TCS).