PM Modi on Sunday launched a financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund via video conferencing. The Prime Minister also released the sixth installment of funds of Rs 17,000 crore to 8.5 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme. “This will help in creating better storage, modern cold storage chain in villages and many employment opportunities will be created in the village,” PM Modi said while launching the facility. “Along with this, I am very satisfied with the transfer of Rs 17,000 crores as PM Kisan Samman Nidhi to the account of 8.5 crore farmer families. The satisfaction is that the goal of this scheme is being achieved,” Modi added. He highlighted that farmers have received Rs 75,000 crore through this scheme in the last year and a half directly in their bank accounts. Of this, Rs 22,000 crore was transferred during the lockdown.
The mission of one country-one mandi for which work was going on for the last 7 years, is now being completed, PM Modi said adding that through the first e-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), a technology-based system was created, and by making law, the farmer was freed from the market and market tax. “Now the farmer has many options.” Farmers would be able to deal with their produce in his field or directly from the warehouse where they would be able to deal with whoever pays the e-NAM to the traders and institutions associated with e-NAM.
PM Modi stressed that the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund will help farmers make modern facilities of storage in their villages as well. “This modern infrastructure will go a long way in setting up agro-based industries. Under the self-reliant India campaign, a big plan has been made to bring the famous products in every district to the market of the country and the world.”
To ensure self-reliance among farmers as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, Modi said that there will be a situation where agricultural industries’ food-based products in the village will go to the city while other industrial goods from the cities will come to the village. Herein, the larger share will be of large groups of small farmers (Farmers Producer Association). “Therefore, for the last 7 years, we have campaigned to build a large network of FPO-Farmers Producer Group,” Prime Minister added.
Modi also highlighted the support provided to agri startups as well. He noted that around 350 startups associated with food processing, artificial intelligence, internet of things, manufacturing of smart farming equipment, and renewable energy are being supported.
The announcement comes two days after the government on Friday had launched India’s first ‘Kisan rail’ between Devlali in Maharashtra and Danapur in Bihar to meet the needs of small farmers and traders for transporting perishable supplies to distant places. The new service will help realize the government’s goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, according to Railway Ministry.
“This will open the way for more income from less land, many new opportunities for employment and self-employment will open,” Modi added while recognizing the role played by farmers for supplying essential goods and services during the lockdown. The government too, ensured that farmers have a record purchase of their produce. “As a result, around Rs 27,000 crore more than the last time has reached farmers.”
Rs 1 lakh crore is to be sanctioned in partnership with multiple lenders even as 11 of the 12 Public Sector Banks have already signed MOUs with the Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW), PMO had said in a statement on Saturday. Under the scheme, 3 per cent interest subvention and credit guarantee of up to Rs 2 crore will be given to the beneficiaries to enhance the viability of these projects. Farmers, PACS, marketing cooperative societies, FPOs, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), multipurpose cooperative societies, agripreneurs, startups, and central/state agency or local body sponsored public-private partnership projects would be overall beneficiaries. PM-KISAN scheme was launched on December 1, 2018, to offer a direct cash benefit of over Rs 75,000 Crore to more than 9.9 crore farmers.