New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: In order to provide relief to the farmers amid the coronavirus crisis, the central government on Friday announced that it will set up an agri-infrastructure fund of Rs 1 lakh crore for aggregators, farmers producers organisations (FPOs), primary agricultural cooperative societies, farmer produce organisation and start-ups.

While making the annoucement, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the move is aimed at strengthening the farmgate infrastructre and increasing farmers' income.

The Finance Minister further said that this fund will be used for setting up cold chains and post-harvest management infrastructure, adding it is causing gaps in value chains.

Also Read | Economic Package Tranche 2: MNREGA support, free foodgrains for migrants, Rs 30,000 crore additional credit support for farmers

Focus has been on short term crop loans while investing in long term agricultural infrastructure has often not been enough, said the government while adding that impetus for development of farm-gate and aggregation point, affordable and financially viable post harvest management infrastructure.

Sitharaman said in the last two months several measures have been taken to support farmers, including minimum support price (MSP) purchases of Rs 73,300 crore during the two months of lockdown.

Also, Rs 18,700 crore in cash dole out under the PM Kisan Fund transfers have been done and Rs 6,400 crore of payment in crop insurance have been made.

Sitharaman on Saturday announced the third tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week announced a cumulative package of Rs 20 lakh crore (nearly 10 per cent of GDP) to provide relief to various segments of the economy battered by coronavirus lockdown.

Also Read | Economic Package: Deadline for ITR extended till Nov 30, TDS/TCS rates cut by 25%, 6-point strategy for MSMEs

This included Rs 1.7 lakh crore package comprising free foodgrain and cash to poor for three months announced in March, and Rs 5.6 lakh crore stimulus provided through various monetary policy measures by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Of the remaining, the government has made two tranches of announcements with a cumulative package of Rs 9.1 lakh crore, comprising largely of credit lines to smaller firms, concessional credit to farmers and support to shadow banking and electricity distributors.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma