In her third set of announcements regarding PM Modi’s Rs 20 lakh crore economic package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government will empower farmers to take some of India’s major farm items such as kesar and chillies to the global market. To that extent, the government today announced Rs 10,000 crore for micro food enterprises as part of PM Narendra Modi’s ‘vocal for local’ focus. “Aiming to implement PM’s vision of ‘vocal for local’ with global outreach, a scheme will be launched to help 2 lakh micro food enterprises” FM Sitharaman said.
A cluster based approach will be followed to take, for example, Bihar’s makhana, Kashmir’s kesar, Uttar Pradesh’s mangoes, North east’s bamboo shoots, Andhra Pradesh’s chillies, and Tamil Nadu’s tapioca across the seven seas. This fund will market to the world India’s organic, herbal, nutritional, health based items, in which India has great strength. “This fund would help in reaching untapped export markets in view of improved health consciousness,” the Finance Minister said at the press conference.
The government has moved to strengthen India’s farm sector and other allied sectors such as dairy, animal husbandry and fisheries etc. The agriculture sector employs about 60% of the country’s population and contributes about 15% to the country’s GDP. “Indian farmers have always ensured that despite their smallholding, they will give high yields,” FM Sitharaman said.
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Among other major announcements for the farm sector, the Finance Minister also rolled out measures to improve farm infrastructure and has introduced a TOP to TOTAL scheme to repair broken supply chains. “This scheme will have 50% subsidy on transportation from surplus to deficient markets; 50% subsidy on storage, including cold storages,” FM said. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package will focus on India’s farmers who work in every circumstance to fill the plates of the country’s people.
Meanwhile, the government has also earmarked about 800 hectares of land to grow herbal plants. Rs 4,000 crore have been allocated for promotion of herbal cultivation and the government expects to generate income of Rs 5,000 crore for local farmers engaged in this cultivation.
(This story was published on Friday, May 15, 2020, on www.financialexpress.com)