Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday put out the third tranche of Centre’s Rs 20 lakh crore economic relief package that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week.
Giving an address to the media in New Delhi, the Finance Minister said the third tranche will deal with providing relief to agriculture and allied industries. She said today's announcements will focus on infrastructure and building capacities in the agriculture and allied activities.
Talking about the measures taken for the agriculture sector in the past two months, the Finance Minister stated that the Centre has taken many measures to support farmers, including minimum support price, purchases of Rs 73,300 crore during the two months of lockdown. Apart from this, Rs 18,700 crore under the PM Kisan Fund transfers were made and Rs 6,400 crore of payment in crop insurance have been made.
Finance Minister announced setting up of fund worth Rs 1 lakh crore for development of agriculture infrastructure for farm-gate infrastructure like cold chain, yards, etc. The impetus of this fund will be to develop farm-gate and aggregation point, affordable and financially viable post-harvest management infrastructure etc.
The government has announced a Rs 10,000 crore scheme aimed at formalising Micro Food Enterprises (MFE). The Finance Minister stated that the scheme promotes vision of 'Vocal for Local with Global outreach'. She said the scheme is likely to help 2 lakh MFEs.
The finance minister also called for developing state-specific cluster-based approach (e.g. Mango in UP, Kesar in J&K, Bamboo shoots in North-East, Chilli in Andhra Pradesh, Tapioca in Tamil Nadu etc). She said the expected outcomes of this include improved health and safety standards, integration with retail markets and improved incomes. "It will also help in reaching untapped export markets in view of improved health consciousness," FM said.
The Centre has also announced Rs 20,000 crores for fishermen through the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY). FM Sitharaman said this will help address critical gaps in fisheries value chain. She said the government will launch the PMMSY for integrated, sustainable, inclusive development of marine and inland fisheries. Rs 11,000 crore will be for activities in marine, inland fisheries and aquaculture, and Rs 9000 crore for infrastructure i.e. Fishing harbours, cold chain, markets etc.
For those engaged in animal husbandry, the government announced the National Animal Disease Control Programme. Under this, foot and mouth disease and brucellosis will be targeted. The government said this programme will have an outlay of Rs 13,343 crores.
The Finance Minister also announced the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund worth Rs 15,000 crore. She said there are many areas in country with high milk production having great potential for private investment in Dairy. "The fund is aimed at supporting private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure."