In accordance with the Indian Government's Rs 20 lakh crore Self Reliant India vision, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced 11 measures today with a focus on agriculture and allied activities.
Announced that the Centre has made purchases worth more than Rs 74,300 crore through MSP during the lockdown, the Finance Minister added that the Centre will now be providing Rs 1 lakh crore for FPOs for strengthening farm-gate infrastructure for farmers. "This fund", Sitharaman said, "will address the infrastructural issue for agricultural startups."
The Finance Minister further announced that the Government has now introduce a Rs 10,000 crore scheme for the formalisation of Micro food enterprises (MFEs). This scheme has been designed to help the unorganised MFEs in technical upgradation for meeting FSSAI standards, and marketing.
Furthermore, the Government has also come up with a Rs 20,000 crore scheme for fishermen called Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana ( PMMSY) and 55 lakh people are expected to get employment from this program, Sitharaman announced.
An Animal Husbandry infrastructure development fund of Rs 15,000 will also be set up, the FinMin said. Sitharaman also announced that 10,00,000 hectares of land is to be covered in the next two years with an outlay of Rs 4,000 crore for the promotion of herbal cultivation, claiming that this will generate Rs 5,000 crore income for the farming class.
A Rs 500 crore scheme has also been introduced for bee-keeping purposes Sitharaman said, adding it will focus on infrastructure development related to integrated beekeeping development centres, collection, marketing & storage centres, post-harvest and value addition facilities. She further announced that theNational Medicinal Plants Board will bring 800-hectare area by developing a corridor of medicinal plants along the banks of river Ganga.
Sithraman also said that the government will amend the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and started off by announcing that Operation Greens to be extended from Tomatoes, Onions and Potatoes (TOP) to all fruits and vegetables. Agriculture products including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions, and potatoes are to be de-regulated by amending the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, Sitharaman further informed.
A central law will be formulated to provide adequate choice to farmers to sell produce at attractive price, Sitharaman announced. She also informed that "barrier-free inter state trade and a framework for e-trading of agricultural produce" will be put in place.
It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 12 announced an economic package with the aim to build a self-reliant India. The economic package for the 'Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan' is close to 10 per cent of India's GDP. The total allocation including the last package stands at Rs 20 lakh crore. Modi said that land, labour, liquidity and laws have all been taken into consideration while forming this package.