Boost For MSMEs, Better Prices For Farmers In Big Cabinet Decisions

The top security panel is likely to discuss the standoff with China in Ladakh.

Highlights

  • The cabinet cleared a Rs 20,000-crore debt scheme
  • It will help nearly 2 lakh MSMEs raise funds
  • Cabinet approved a Fund of Funds worth Rs 50,000 crore for MSMEs
New Delhi:

Farmers will get 50-83 per cent more returns as the Union cabinet approved minimum support price for 14 crops at a meeting today. The meet – preceded by meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Security and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs -- also took key decisions on MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and street vendors.

The cabinet cleared a Rs 20,000-crore debt scheme, which would help nearly 2 lakh MSMEs raise funds amid the stress of the lockdown.It also approved a Fund of Funds worth Rs 50,000 crore for MSMEs to encourage private sector investment in the sector.

"Gaon, gareeb, kisan (villages, the poor and the farmers) are the priority of the government," said a panel of Union ministers who briefed the media after the meeting, which, sources said, was expected to take "historic decisions".

The Minimum Support Price of paddy has been raised by Rs 53 per quintal to touch Rs 1,868 per quintal for 2020-21, said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar. A hike was also announced for cotton -- the MSP is now up by Rs 260 to touch Rs 5,515 per quintal.

Mr Tomar said farmers will now get more time to repay their loans -- the new deadline will be in August. Fresh loans can also be taken on the Kisan credit card and farmers can sell their harvest wherever they wish, the minister said.  

A law to give farmers the choice to sell their produce anywhere and get the price they want was promised by the government last month.

While announcing the third tranche of the mega economic stimulus to help the industry out of the lockdown-induced slump, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the law will allow farmers to conduct "barrier-free interstate trade" and e-trading of farm produce.

The increase in minimum support price for kharif or summer crops is in line with the Union Budget 2018-19 announcement of ensuring fair returns to farmers. The governmemt;s strategy is one of promoting sustainable agriculture with diversified cropping pattern. But the production-centric approach has been replaced by income-centric approach, the government said.

The Umbrella Scheme "Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan" announced in 2018 will also help provide remunerative return to farmers for their produce, the government said.

Last week, GDP data showed the country is undergoing the slowest pace of growth in 11 years. Around 12 crore people lost jobs in April, according to estimates by the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy.

In its attempt to revive the economy after the first month of lockdown, the government started easing curbs since April 20. Shops and markets were opened and restricted entrance in offices was allowed. Last month, the government even allowed rail, road and air travel in a limited manner.

The "Unlock1" plan, which came into force today amid the continuation of lockdown, allows reopening of malls, restaurants, hotels and places of worship.

Analysts have predicted a first full-year contraction of the economy in more than four decades as the country battles a spurt in coronavirus cases.

In a letter to the nation to mark a year after his re-election, PM Modi said India would set an example in economic revival and surprise the world the way it did in its fight against the pandemic.
Over the weekend, India galloped to the number 8 spot in the top 10 worst virus-hit nations.