New Delhi: The Central government will create a Rs 1 lakh crore Agri-Infrastructure Fund for farm-gate infrastructure for small and medium farmers, most of whom are marginalized.
This was the highlight of the third tranche of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self reliant) stimulus package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, when she focussed on agriculture, dairy, animal husbandry and allied activities.
During his address to the nation on May 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the government will provide a Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package to help the country bounce back from the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Financing facility of Rs 100,000 crore will be provided for funding Agriculture Infrastructure Projects at farm-gate and aggregation points which will include primary agricultural co-operative societies, farmer producer organizations, agricultural entrepreneurs and start-ups. The fund will be created immediately,” Sitharaman said.
The minister observed that lack of adequate cold chain and post-harvest management in the vicinity of farm-gate is resulting in gaps in value chains. The government’s focus has thus far been on short-term crop loans and investment in long-term agriculture infrastructure may not have been adequate.
“I have announced 11 measures today, of which 8 are related to strengthening infrastructure, capacities and building better logistics in the country, while the other 3 pertain to governance and administrative reforms,” Sitharaman said.