Today, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi launched a new Central Sector Scheme for offering financing facilities under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of 1 lakh crore rupees i.e. 14.19 billion US dollars. The scheme will be supporting the Agri-entrepreneurs, PACS, farmers, FPOs, and more for constructing post-harvest agriculture infrastructure and community farming assets. These earlier mentioned assets will make sure that farmers receive greater value for their produce as they will become capable to store and sell their produce at higher prices, reduction of wastage, and an increase in processing and value addition.
Today becomes the 30th day since the Cabinet has formally approved the scheme. With this scheme, over 2,280 farmer societies were given one thousand crore rupees by the first sanction. The pandemic has pushed everything to digitalization and hence this event was also conducted through video conference. Lakhs of farmers, cooperatives, FPOs, PACS, and citizens from all across the nation enriched the event by their presence by joining the conference.
Modi also released the 6th installment under the PM-KISAN scheme at the same event, to nearly 8.5 crore farmers with seventeen thousand crores thousand i.e. 2.41 billion US dollars. Just by the press of a button, the cash benefit would be directly transferred to the farmers’ Aadhar verified bank accounts. With this astounding transfer, the scheme has handed over ninety-thousand crore rupees i.e. 12.77 billion US dollars to more than ten crore farmers since its launch on the 1st of December in the year 2018.
PM Interacted with 3 Primary Agriculture Credit Societies
PM Modi interacted with 3 Primary Agriculture Credit Societies from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Karnataka through video conferencing (these are the people who are among the initial beneficiaries of the scheme). PM Modi had a very engaging discussion with those who represented their respective societies for the understanding of their current operations and how are they planning to utilize this loan. The Prime Minister was earlier informed by the societies about their plans for building go-downs, setting up grading, and sorting units which will make sure to help the member farmers for securing a higher price for their cultivated produce.
PM addressed the nation
After PM’s interaction with the Primary Agriculture Credit Societies, he further addressed the entire nation. He expressed confidence about how this scheme will be beneficial for farmers and the agriculture sector. While addressing he said that the scheme will prove to be a financial boost to the farmers and agriculture sector and that will further increase the country’s ability to compete on the international platform.
Prime Minister emphasized by repeating that India possesses a massive opportunity to invest in post-harvest management solutions like food processing, cold chain, and warehousing, and build an international existence in areas like organic and fortified foods. He also said that this scheme will provide a good opportunity for agriculture-based start-ups as they would be able to avail the benefits and scale their operations, thereafter this can lead to the creation of an ecosystem that reaches farmers in every corner of the nation.
The expression of gratification was showcased by the Prime Minister with the pace of implementation of the PM-KISAN scheme. He also recognized that the scale of the program is so huge that the funds that were released today have reached more people than the entire population of numerous countries if taken together. Further, he also congratulated the states for playing a crucial role in the implementation and for providing assistance to the farmers through the entire process of all the way from registration to disbursal.
Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar who is the Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, also charmed the occasion with his presence.
What is Agriculture Infrastructure Fund??
This fund is a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in feasible projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee. The duration of the scheme will be for 10 years i.e. from FY2020 to FY2029. The banks and financial institutions will be providing 1 lakh crore rupees i.e. 14.19 billion US dollars as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum and credit guarantee coverage under CGTMSE (i.e. Credit Guarantee Funds Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises) scheme for loans up to two crore rupees i.e. 0.28 million US dollars, under this scheme. The beneficiaries of the scheme will include FPOs, farmers, PACS, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Marketing Cooperative Societies, Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, SHGs, Agri-entrepreneurs, Start-ups, and Public-Private Partnership Projects which are sponsored by Central/State agency or Local Body.
For providing income support through a way of a cash benefit to all landholding farmers ( those who are subject to certain exclusion criteria) to make them capable of fulfilling their agricultural needs and support their families, The PM-KISAN scheme was launched in 2018’s December month. At the mercy of this scheme, the financial benefit of six thousand rupees i.e. 85.11 US dollars per year is provided to eligible beneficiary farmers in 3 equal installments.
A novel turn for the agriculture sector
These earlier mentioned steps are recent in a series of reforms that have been taken by the Indian Government under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When these measures are seen collectively, it seems like an indication for a novel turn the Indian agriculture sector will soon take and showcase the government’s commitment to defending the cause of making sure about the sustainability and welfare of livelihoods for the farmers of this land.