Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Rs 1 Lakh Crore Boost For Agriculture Infrastructure

Focus on short-term crop loan will go hand-in-hand with building long-term agriculture infrastructure, the Finance Minister said.

Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Rs 1 Lakh Crore Boost For Agriculture Infrastructure

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the fund will be created immediately

The government today announced Rs 1 lakh crore for strengthening the farm-gate infrastructure for farmers, in the third tranche of measures that are part of a mega stimulus to tackle the impact of the coronavirus crisis and weeks of lockdown. It also announced a cluster-based approach to promote the mantra of “vocal for local with global outreach”. The fund will be created immediately, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. 

The newly announced fund will be used for strengthening farmgate infrastructure such as cold storage facilities and foodgrain storage centres. It will benefit primary agriculture societies, aggregators and start-ups, and also help in boosting the export sector, the finance minister said.

“Financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore will be provided for funding agriculture infrastructure projects and aggregators like Farmers Producer Organisation, agricultural entrepreneurs, primary agriculture cooperative societies etc,” said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The minister also announced a fund of Rs 10,000 crore for Micro Food Enterprises, with a focus on a cluster-based approach to promotion of agricultural produce, in line with the Prime Minister's call for "Vocal for Local". This fund will aim at promoting these products globally, with focus on women business owners and workers, the finance minister stressed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had on Tuesday, announced a Rs 20 lakh crore  “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package amounting to 10 per cent of the gross domestic product, to support an economy battered by a sweeping weeks-long lockdown to fight the novel coronavirus. The government had already made two tranches of announcements in the past two days, focussng on on small firms, farmers and migrant workforce.

The ongoing lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 had begun on March 25 and the third phase of the 54-day lockdown is scheduled to end on May 17. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already indicated there would be a phase 4, albeit with lesser restrictions.