New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced the third tranche of stimulus package aimed at reviving the pandemic-hit economy, which focused on agriculture and allied activities.

Sitharaman announced a total of 11 measures -- eight on strengthening of infrastructure and logistics and the remaining three on governance and administrative reforms.

  • Sitharaman announced allotment of Rs 1 lakh crore for aggregators, FPOs, primary agricultural cooperative societies, farmer produce organisation and start-ups, all aimed at strengthening the farmgate infrastructre and increasing farmers’ income. This fund would help in reaching untapped export markets in view of improved health consciousness.
  • Rs 10,000 crore scheme for Micro food enterprises, promoting PM Modi’s vision of ‘vocal for local with global outreach’, will have cluster-based approach (for example - mango in UP, Kesar in J&K, bamboo shoots in North-East, Chilli in Andhra Pradesh Tapioca in Tamil Nadu etc.). The scheme will help 2 lakh MFEs with technical upgradation to attain FSSAI food standards, build brands and marketing.    

Also Read | From amending Essential Commodities Act to Rs 1 lakh crore for agriculture infra: Key Highlights from govt's economic package tranche 3

  • All COVID19 related deadline extensions relating to fisheries activities, many of them involving overseas contracts, have been honoured. Very many measures which will help marine and coastal farmers have been undertaken as promised.
  • 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 program.
  • National Animal Disease Control Programme of Rs 13,343 crore to ensure 100 per cent vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population, which is a total of 53 crore, for Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis.
  • Setting up of Animal Husbandry infrastructure development fund of Rs 15,000 crore, aimed at supporting private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.
  • Rs 4000 crore allocated for promotion of herbal cultivation. 10,00,000 hectare will be covered under herbal cultivation in next two years. The scheme will lead to Rs 5,000 crore income generation for farmers. National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) will bring 800 hectare area by developing a corridor of medicinal plants along the banks of river Ganga.
  • Govt 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. The scheme will lead to an increase in income of 2 lakh bee-keepers.
  • From ‘TOP’ to TOTAL scheme worth Rs 500 crore - Operation Greens to be extended from Tomatoes, Onions and Potatoes (TOP) to all fruits and vegetables (TOTAL).
  • Amendment in Essential Commodities Act, 1955, aimed at increasing farmers’ income. Agriculture food items including cereals, edible oils, oil seeds, pulses, onions and potato to be deregulated. Stock limit to be imposed under very exceptional calamities, famine with surge in prices.
  • A central law to be formulated to provide adequate choices to the farmers to sell produce at an attractive price, barrier-free interstate trade and framework for e-trading of agricultural produce.     

She 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 said during the lockdown period, 560 lakh litre per day of milk was procured by cooperatives against daily sale of 360 lakh litres per day.

Total 111 crore litres extra procured ensuring payment of Rs 4,100 crore, she said adding a new scheme to provide interest subvention of 2 per cent per annum to dairy cooperative has been implemented.

The interest subvention will unlock Rs 5,000 crore additional liquidity, benefitting 2 crore farmers.

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.

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.

Most of the first two tranches of the package are off-budget and the government cash outgo is limited to just Rs 16,500 crore on free foodgrain and affordable housing to migrant workers as well as limited tax relief and marginal dole to some companies on employee retrial benefits.

India had - beginning March 25 - imposed a three-week-long nationwide lockdown, the most far-reaching measure undertaken by any government to curb the spread of the pandemic.

The lockdown, which brought most of the economic activity to a standstill as factories and businesses shut while rendering thousands temporarily unemployed, has since been extended twice through May 17, with some relaxations to allow the resumption of economic activity.

According to estimates, the lockdown may have led to 12.2 crore people losing jobs in April and consumer demand evaporating.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta