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Economic Relief Tranche-3: Agriculture and Allied Activities Not Only Got Money but Also Reforms

agriculture and allied activities

Building on the announcement of yesterday in which ₹30,000 crores Additional Emergency Working Capital Funding through NABARD and ₹2 lakh crore worth of concessional credit boost were announced, another 11 measures announced by the Finance Ministry targeting the Agricultural economy of India. Right measures dealing with financial support across various agriculture and allied activities aimed to make India to operate at global scale were detailed by the finance minister.

Particular interest was generated by the last three administrative reforms that the government has announced arguably change the face of agriculture to another level. As the Finance Minister asked, “why is it that the farmer is forced to sell his produce to only certain market whereas anyone producing finished products can sell them to anyone?”

In this regard the government has announced to amend the laws that enable farmer to sell his produce availing barrier free inter state trade and e-trading.

  1. Financing facility of ₹1 lakh crore will be provided for funding Agriculture Infrastructure Projects at farm-gate and aggregation points. It will help to create cold chain and post-harvest management.
  2. A scheme will be launched to help 2 lakh Micro Food Enterprises with ₹10,000 crore. The key focus area will be the improvement of health and safety standards, integration with retail markets and improved incomes. This will be in line with ‘vocal for local’ statement envisaged by the Prime Minsiter. Cluster based approach will be followed for instance mango cluster in UP-Bihar, Kesar cluster in J&K.
  3. Government will immediately launch Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana to plug critical gaps in fisheries value chain. It will provide employment to over 55 lakh persons & double exports to ₹1 lakh crore over the next five years.
  4. National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP) launched with total outlay of ₹13,343 crores for 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population in India shall be pushed more aggressively. This will help India to emerge a market leader in those products supported by this animal population.
  5. Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund of ₹15,000 crore shall be set up to support private investment in Dairy Processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure. Government is aiming big time to create export capacity for niche products in this segment by enabling more units in this regard.
  6. ₹4,000 crore to promote Herbal Cultivation in India has been detailed, aiming to cover 10 lakh hectares under herbal cultivation in 2 years. A corridor of medicinal plants of 800 hectares shall be set up along the banks of Ganga. Fighting the epidemic has also made the world to realise the significance of herbs, MoS Finance Anurag Thakur noted.
  7. ₹500 crore allocation for infrastructure development related to Beekeeping was announced. It aims to increase income for 2 lakh beekeepers, with a special thrust on capacity building of women.
  8. ₹500 crore ‘TOP to TOTAL’ scheme was announced to extend Operation Greens from Tomatoes, Onion and Potatoes (TOP) to ALL fruits and vegetables. 50% subsidy on transportation from surplus to deficient market. 50% subsidy for storage facilities shall be provided.
The Administrative Interventions
  • Government will amend Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers. Agriculture food stuffs including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato will be deregulated.
  • Government will bring in a law to implement agriculture marketing reforms to provide marketing choices to farmers. The law will provide adequate choices to farmer to sell produce at attractive price through barrier free inter-state trading and e-trading.
  • To provide assurance to farmer on agriculture produce price and quality, a facilitative legal framework will be created. It will enable farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters etc in fair and transparent manner.