Finance Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, 15th May 2020 came out with phase 3 of the economic package for providing relief as promised by Hon. Prime Minister. Phase 3 focused mainly on farm sector and strengthening of the infrastructure, logistics and capacity building in relation to agricultural and allied activities.
*Measures to strengthen Infrastructure, Logistics and Capacity building * under Phase 3 Of Economic Package
1. Agri Infrastructure fund– A fund of 1L cr will be set up immediately, which will help in funding Agricultural infrastructure projects at the farm gate ( Agri cooperative societies, Farmers producers organisations, Agri entrepreneurs, start-up etc. ).
2. The formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE)- A 10K cr scheme is formed to help approx. 2Lakh MFE in the unorganised sector and identified through cluster approach (mango producers in UP, Bamboo in North-Eastern states, Chilli in Andhra etc.). The scheme will help these MFEs in technical up-gradation to build a brand, market their products, attain FSSAI standards etc. This can be instrumental in making locals very vocal on the national and international front.
3. 20K crore Scheme to help Fisherman through PMMSY– Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojna (PMMSY) will help in the integrated and sustainable development of marine and inland fisheries. The scheme is divided into 2 parts. The first one would be a fund of 11k cr which will be used for activities in marine, Inland fisheries and Aquaculture. The part would be of 9K crore and would be utilised for infrastructure– developing fishing harbours, cold chains, markets etc. The highlight of the scheme would be provisions for the banned period and personal and boat insurance. The government aims to create employment for over 55Lakh people and additional marine produce of 70Lakh tonnes and doubling the exports to 1Lakh crore.
4. National Animal Disease Control Programme-An outlay of 13.3K crore is being kept to be spent on control of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) in animal farms. The scheme aims at 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population of 53 Crore. Will be very useful for people in an animal farm business.
5. Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development fund –Aim to support private investment in Dairy. There is an excess production of milk in many areas and this has great potential for being tapped and exported. The fund will help the establishment of plants for the export of niche products through incentives.
6. Promotion of herbal cultivation– National Medicinal plants Board (NMPB) has supported big areas under cultivation of medicinal plants. The scheme now will focus on further 10Lakh hectare of the area to be covered under herbal cultivation in the next 2 years with an outlay of 4K crore. Regional Mandis to be developed and a corridor of 800 hectares to be set up along the banks of river Ganga.
7. Beekeeping incentive scheme- Beekeeping is a prime source of income in rural and tribal areas. A scheme is to be implemented for infra development related to integrated beekeeping development centres, collection, storage and marketing along with other value-added facilities. The scheme estimated to be at a cost of 500 crores, will have more focus on women, will be helpful to over 2Lakh beekeepers and provide good quality honey to consumers.
8. TOP to TOTAL– Government has agreed that the supply chain re-disrupted and farmers are not able to sell the product as effectively as they could have. Operation green will be extended from Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) to ALL fruits and vegetables. Scheme with an outlay of 500 Crore will provide 50% subsidy on transportation of surplus to deficient markets and 50% subsidy on storage of surplus, including the cold storage.
9. Amendment to Essential commodity Act -. The EC commodity Act was established in 1955 when the produce was scarce. It needs a change today, to enable farmers to get better price realisation. Agri foodstuff including Tomato, Onion, Potato, cereals. Pulses, edible oils, Oilseeds etc. are to be deregulated. Stock limits to be imposed only in case of national emergency and exceptional circumstances.
10. Agricultural Marketing reforms- At present farmers are bound to sell their produce only to licensees in Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMCs) which results in the free flow of agricultural produce and less realisation for farmers. Central law will be framed to enable farmers to choice and sell their produce at attractive prices with barrier-free inter-state trade and enabling e-trading also of the produce. It effectively means farmers to be able to sell the produce at any APMC across India.
11. Agricultural price and quality assurance– Farmers have very limited inputs and information about various factors like the probable selling price at the time of harvesting, imports and exports probabilities, risk management etc. With this scheme, the government will try to make such information available to farmers at ease so that farmers can engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters etc. Risk mitigation assured returns and quality standardisation are a few integrals of this scheme.
Phase 3 of economic package announced by government is sure to bring much relief and strengthen rural sections of India.