Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing a press conference in New Delhi on May 15, 2020.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing a press conference in New Delhi on May 15, 2020.IANS

Sitharaman announces Rs 1 lakh crore fund for post-harvest agriculture infrastructure

New Delhi, May 15, 2020

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced that the Centre will set up a Rs 1 lakh crore agri infrastructure fund for farm-gate infrastructure for farmers.

Addressing the media here, she said that financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore will be provided for funding in agriculture infrastructure projects at the farm-gate and aggregation points such as primary agricultural cooperative societies, farmer producer organisations and agriculture entrepreneurs, among others.

This will provide impetus for development for farm-gate/aggregation point affordable and financially viable post-harvest management infrastructure, she said.

Observing the lack of adequate cold chain and post-harvest management infrastructure in the vicinity of farm gate causes gaps in value chains, Sitharaman said that the fund will be created immediately.

The announcement is part of the third tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

Not just fiscal measures, regulatory reforms will also be carried out, Sitharaman said.

She pointed out that amendments to the Essential Commodities Act will be made and a legal route would be taken to free the farmers to sell their produce in any market that provides remunerative prices, rather than restricting such sales only to the licencees in the APMC.

Detailing the measures under the mega Rs 20 lakh crore economic package as part of the Centre's 'Self-reliant India Movement', which was earlier announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sitharaman doled out massive fiscal support to agriculture and allied activities.

Besides, she announced a Rs 10,000 crore cluster-based manufacturing scheme for nutritional products.

She said that the scheme is in line with the Prime Minister's call for 'Vocal for Local' with global outreach.

It is expected to help 2 lakh MFEs attain FSSAI gold standards, build brands and boost marketing.


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