FM Announces Rs 1L Cr for Agri Infra, Rs 20k Cr for Fisheries
On Thursday, Sitharaman shared details on relief measures for migrant workers, farmers, street vendors.
In her third consecutive press briefing, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, 15 May, laid down the third tranche of the 20 lakh crore economic package announced under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ for agriculture, and other allied activities.
“I will be announcing 11 measures today, of which eight of them relate to strengthening infrastructure, capacities and building better logistics, while the rest three will pertain to governance and administrative reforms,” she said.
Here are the key announcements made by Sitharaman:
- Government to allocate Rs 1 lakh crore for farm gate infrastructure
- Government introduces a Rs 10,000 crores scheme for the formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE)
- Government to launch the Rs 20,000 crore Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for development of marine and inland fisheries. 55 lakh people expected to get employment from this programme
- National Animal Disease Control Programme launched for Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis with a total outlay of Rs 13,343 crore
- Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund of Rs 15,000 crores to be set up
- National Medicinal Plants Board will bring 800-hectare area by developing a corridor of medicinal plants along the banks of river Ganga
- Government to implement a Rs 500 crore scheme of infrastructure development related to integrated beekeeping development centres, collection, marketing and storage centres, post-harvest and value addition facilities
- Operation Greens to be extended from Tomatoes, Onions and Potatoes (TOP) to all fruits and vegetables (TOTAL)
- Government to amend the Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers; agriculture products including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions, and potatoes to be de-regulated
- Government will formulate central law to provide adequate choices to farmers to sell produce at attractive prices, barrier-free interstate trade and framework for e-trading of agricultural produce
- Government to create a facilitative legal framework to enable farmers for engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers,exporters in a fair and transparent manner
Reiterating the steps taken by the Modi government during the lockdown for agriculture and dairy sector, Sitharaman said, “During lockdown period Minimum Support Price purchases of amount more than Rs 74,300 crores and PM Kisan fund transfer of Rs 18,700 crores were done.”
Sitharaman has been announcing measures under the Rs 20 lakh crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to mitigate the damage done by the coronavirus-induced lockdown since 25 March.
In her second press conference, on Thursday, Sitharaman shared further details on the second tranche of relief measures for the migrant workers, farmers, street vendors, and marginal traders.
Introducing national portability cards under the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme, Sitharaman said workers in any part of the the country can avail ration.
Among the major announcements, Sitharaman stated Rs 5,000 special credit facility for nearly 50 lakh street vendors, free food grains supply to all migrant workers for the next two months and Rs 30,000 crores additional emergency working capital funding through NABARD to farmers.
PM Modi Lauds Reforms, Cong Calls it ‘Jumla’
PM Modi took to Twitter to hail the reforms announced by Sitharaman.
“I welcome today’s measures announced by FM Nirmala Sitharaman. They'll help rural economy, our hardworking farmers, fishermen, animal husbandry and dairy sectors. I especially welcome reform initiatives in agriculture, which will boost income of farmers,” he said.
Several union ministers and BJP leaders also welcomed the reforms.
“Modi government believes that India's welfare lies in the welfare of farmers. The unprecedented assistance given to farmers today shows Modi ji's foresight to make the country self-sufficient by empowering farmers.I congratulate PM Modi and FM Nirmala Sitharaman for this,” Home Minister Amit Shah said.
BJP President JP Nadda said that the reforms will hugely benefit farmers.
“Today's announcements will hugely benefit farmers and enhance their incomes. One lakh crore fund for farm gate infrastructure, scheme for global marketing of local agri-produce, new schemes to benefit herbal cultivators, fruits and vegetable growers, beekeepers, fisheries, dairying etc,” he said.
“I welcome far-reaching agricultural reforms announced by FM today. Proposed amendments to Essential Commodities Act, 1955. APMC Act and legal framework for advance sale agreements to ensure better returns to farmers. I thank PM Modi for these very effective decisions,” he added.
The Congress, meanwhile, called the announcements a ‘jumla,’saying that the government cannot move from ‘headlines to helplines.’
“This is a big ‘jumla’ and Rs 20 lakh crore is only 13 zeros for the citizens of the country,” alleged Randeep Surjewala, Congress chief spokesperson
.The Rs 20 lakh crore package is not relief to countrymen but "voodoo economics" as there is no reality in the so called package, said Surjewala.
The party claimed that the minister is only repackaging the Budget and she should apologise to the farmers as no direct benefit is being given to the farmers and that it is "only headline and no helpline".
It described the three-day package announcement as only a "loan distribution drive" for already distressed farmers.
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