Sitharaman, along with MoS Finance Anurag Thakur addressed the third of a series of press conferences on Friday which was meant to outline India’s efforts in rebooting its economy that has been badly affected due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the key points from the Finance Minister’s address:
– As many as 11 measures announced, of which eight were related to strengthening infrastructure and storage facilities, and three were related to governance and administrative reforms.
-During the lockdown period, the demand for milk has reduced by 20-25%. A new scheme has been announced to provide interest subvention at 2% per annum to dairy cooperatives for the financial year 2020-21. The scheme will unlock Rs 5000 cr additional liquidity and benefit to 2 cr farmers.
– The government has made the purchase of Minimum Support Price which is worth Rs 74,300 crore in the span of two months and made Rs 18,700 crore DBT transfers to farmers’ accounts.
-Also, Rs 6,400 crores were sent to farmers against claims under PM FasalBimaYojana.
-The government has announced for Rs 1 lakh crore fund of agri-infrastructure and farm-gate infrastructure for farmers.
-The government introduces a scheme of Rs 10,000 crores for the formalization of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE) and the scheme aims to promote PM’s vision of ‘Vocal for Local with global outreach’.
-The government allocates Rs 20,000 crore for fishermen through Pradhan MantriMatsyaSampadaYojana and also announces Rs 11,000 crore for activities in marine, inland fisheries, and aquaculture. Apart from that Rs 9,000 crore is allocated for infrastructure: Fishing harbors, cold chains, markets, etc.
– The aim of GOI is to provide employment to over 55 lakh people and to double exports to Rs 1,00,000 crore. The primary focus will be on islands, Himalayan states, the North-east, and aspirational districts.
– A national animal disease control program for foot and mouth disease and brucellosis was launched with a total outlay of Rs 13,343 crore. This program ensures 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and pigs.
– Rs 15,000 crore is allocated to an animal husbandry infrastructure development fund. This fund is to support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.
-Rs 4,000 crore is allocated to the promotion of herbal cultivation. Ms.Sitaraman said that 10,00,000 hectares will be covered under herbal cultivation in the next two years and it will lead to Rs 5,000 crore income generation for farmers.
-Finance Minister says that a network of regional mandis for medicinal plants will be established and NMPB will bring in an 800-hectare area by developing a corridor of medicinal plants along the banks of River Ganga.
-Rs 500 crore is allocated to bee-keeping initiatives. The government will soon implement a scheme for infrastructure development related to integrated beekeeping development centers, collection, marketing, and storage centers.
-Operation Greens will be extended from Tomatoes, Onions, and Potatoes (TOP) to all fruits and vegetables. Apart from that 50% subsidy will be provided on transportation from surplus to deficient markets and a 50% subsidy on storage, including cold storage.
-The Government of India will bring in amendments to the essential commodities act to enable better price realization for farmers. Agriculture foodstuff will be deregulated including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions, and potatoes. Also, a Stock limit will be imposed on them unless for exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famines with surge in prices.
-Agriculture marketing reforms will be made by the government to provide marketing choices to farmers. A central law will be formulated for the benefit of farmers to provide adequate choices to sell their produce at attractive prices, barrier-free inter-state trade, and a framework for e-trading of agriculture produce.
-A facilitative legal framework will be created for farmers to enable them for engaging with processors, aggregators, and large retailers, exporters in a fair and transparent manner. Risk mitigation assured returns and quality standardization will be an integral part of the framework.