Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Stimulus For Agriculture, Allied Activities | Read

PUBLISHED ON: May 15, 2020 | Duration: 53 min, 33 sec

  
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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the third tranche of Centre's Rs 20 lakh crore fiscal stimulus which attempts to soften the blow of the coronavirus and the lockdown on the economy. Today's announcements focused on agriculture and allied activities. She has already unveiled two tranches of measures - Day 1 focused on small businesses and the middle class and Day 2 was for migrants and farmers.

Here are the Highlights of Nirmala Sitharaman's announcements on Day 3:

Today's focus is agriculture and allied activities.

Largest proportion of Indian population dependent on agriculture. The maximum being small and medium farmers.

The Indian farmer has always stood up to the challenges and set a certain global benchmark. We are the largest milk, jute, pulses producer, third-largest cereal producer.

Part of outline, relief for animal husbandry and dairy.

I will announce 11 measures today - eight related to strengthening activities and three will concern governance.

74,300 crore of purchases based on MSP was done during the lockdown. Under PM Kisan Yojana, 18,600 crores were transferred to farmers' accounts directly. Fasal Beema Yojana claims worth Rs 6,400 crore were also settled. Also, for animal husbandry, 560 lakh litres of milk were procured per day as compared to 360 lakh litres procured usually. This was done by dairy cooperatives.

Nearly 2 crore farmers benefited in the last 2 months.

The eight measures are as follows:

1. Rs 1 lakh crore fund to be provided for strengthening farmgate infrastructure - cold storage facilities, foodgrain storage centres, etc. This will benefit primary agriculture societies, aggregators, start-ups etc. The agricultural start-ups will also benefit. This will also help in export. This fund will address this issue. It will be created at the earliest.

2. For food enterprises which are micro in size: 10,000 crores scheme to be executed in cluster-based approach. Health and wellness, nutritional, herbal, organic products. 2 lakh Micro Food Enterprise will benefit. Aim at branding marketing of the clusters. This will help in achieving PM's call for "Vocal for Local". This fund will aim at promoting these products globally, with focus on women business owners and workers.

3. Pradhan Mantri Matsya-Sampada Yojana - 20,000 crore new fishing vessels can be provided, fishing harbours can be built. Fishermen don't go to sea year-long. Boats can be insured. This will result in additional 70 lakh tonnes of fish. Of the 20,000 crore, 9,000 crore will be for the vessels, mandi, harbours and marketing. This will provide employment to 55 lakh people.

4. Foot and mouth disease common among animals. Animals who have not been vaccinated, suffer from this. So farmers suffer in turn. To ensure 100% vaccination of cattle - 53 crore animals, Rs 13,343 crore will be provisioned. Since January, 1.5 crore buffaloes and cows have been tagged for vaccination. Post lockdown, this will be carried on.

5. Rs 15,000 crore for dairy sector - Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund. Will aim to support private investment in dairy sector.

6. Rs 4,000 crores for herbal cultivation. 10 lakh hectares will be covered under herbal cultivation. A corridor will be setup on both banks of the River Ganga.

7. Rs 500 crores for beekeeping initiatives. Will improve beekeeping, which is crucial for cross-pollination and also increase produce of honey. This too will be aimed for the 'local to global' initiative.

8. Rs 500 crores for a programme called 'TOP to TOTAL' - This will help better supply chains, which have been disrupted during the lockdown. This used to be done for tomato, onion and potato, but now will include all other vegetables and will be started first on a pilot basis. There will be 50% on transportation of produce and 50% subsidy on storage, including cold storage.

The three administrative measures are as follows:

1. Amendment to Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers. The amendment will be largely towards de-regulating certain crops, like potatoes, cereals, onions, etc. No stock limit shall apply for food processing units, value-addition corporations, exporters, etc. This will not hamper food processing and exports when Essential Commodities Act is applicable.

2. Farmers to have a choice to sell their produce at an attractive price. Agriculture Marketing Reforms to provide marketing choices for farmers. Farmers are currently bound to sell only to some licenses. This does not happen in any other manufacturing sector. We want to make the marketplace more accessible to farmers. We will now allow farmers to sell to anyone who offers a better price for their produce. This will help them earn better.

3. Agricultural Produce Price Support Programme - Farmers do not have a standard mechanism which tells him/her what price they will get for their crop. Even when they sow the crop, they do this with uncertainty of what they will reap monetarily when a buyer comes. We will now work on a legal framework and a mechanism which will ensure they know exactly what they will earn for the quantity they produce.
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