Major Measures & Initiatives for Agriculture & Allied Sectors : Part 3 of Series “Honorable Finance Minister Announcements”

In the third tranche of the announcements, the key focus areas are the agriculture and allied sectors with announcing 11 major measures by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of stimulus package Rs.20 Lakh crore.

In this write-up, we shall discuss the measures announced by the government which also includes the measures earlier adopted. This includes :

  • Supply chain Reforms,
  • involvement of technology-driven system; and
  • the impact on the demography.

Clarification on Day 2 announcement:

At the initiation, FM clarified that EPFO is not charging any penalty from all those companies who had made any delay in the payment of provident fund dues.

Recalling the Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries Related Measures since Lockdown

  • Minimum Support Price (MSP) purchases of the amount to an extent of 74300 crores.
  • The allocation to PM Kisan Fund amounting to Rs.18700 crores.
  • As mentioned, settled claims under PM Fasal Bima Yojna amounting to Rs.6400 crores.
  • As the milk demand has been reduced by 20-30% it has impacted severally to milk production.
  • The Cooperatives has purchased 560 lakhs liter is beyond the normal purchases of 360 lakhs.
  • Moreover, the amount of Rs.111 liters additionally procured ensuring payment of Rs.4100 crores to milk workers.
  • A new scheme to provide the interest subvention @2% per annum to dairy cooperatives for the FY 2020-21.
  • Additionally, to incentivize the payment, the 2% p.a. on prompt payment interest servicing benefitting to 2 crore farmers.
  • Extension of scope of PM Kisan Yojna and additional expenditure under PM Fasal Bima Yojna, the furtherance of Soil Health Card amongst others of series of Part 2 of announcements.
  • Extension of period for payments under Sanitary Import Permits (SIP).
  • Condonation of delay of 1 month in the arrival of Broodstock consignments.
  • Allowance of rebooking of quarantine vehicles for canceled consignments with no additional charges.
  • Verification of documents of vehicles during quarantine has been relaxed to 3 days which was earlier 7 days.
  • Many measures relating to shrimp farmers, marine farmers, hatcheries, and rearing hatcheries the registration has been extended for 3 months which was expiring earlier on 31.03.2020.
  • All the operations related to marine capture fisheries and aquaculture fisheries relaxed to cover inland fisheries.
  • Other measures for the small and marginal workers which occupy 85% of the operational measures have been referred to in Part 2 of Series of Announcements.
  • The largest producer of many agro-based products likes dairy, cereals, and so on to make sure that it maintains the same graphics.
  • Working Capital support of additional of Rs.30000 crores in the extension of Rs.90000 crores. 

Key Takeaways of Today’s Announcements:

For Infrastructure & Capacity Building

  • Allocation of Rs.1 Lakh Crores for funding agriculture infrastructure projects for the establishment of the following:
    1. Farmgate aggregation points ( Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies) at Farm- Gate;  and  Aggregation Points.
    2. Cold Chains
    3. Farmers Producer Organizations
    4. Agriculture Entrepreneur,
    5. Start-Ups
  • The focus has been on short term crop loans while investing in long term agriculture infrastructure has often not been enough.

This will facilitate the funding and providing infrastructure to all the private entrepreneurs and will be made available soon.

Measures for  Micro Food Enterprises.

  • Promoting the PM’s Model Vocal for Local with Global outreach.
  • Allocation of Rs.10,000 crores for the formalization of Micro Food enterprises will be executed with a cluster-based approach.
  • With the aim of global outreach, create global standards, value-added products, and build brands and such marketing to such brands will be assisted through such funds.
  • It includes the following:
    • Herbal Products
    • Health & Wellness Products
    • Nutritional products
    • Organic products
    • Alternatives for healthy living
  • This will benefit up to 2 lakhs MFEs attain and sustain such enterprises.
  • A cluster-based approach like state-based famous and with nutritional products that can be fruits, salts, and masalas forming clusters or any other specialties of the state.
  • Thus, assistance will be provided and focused on Women’s, SMEs, MSMEs, and also on the Aspirational districts.
  • The Expected outcomes :
    • Improved Health standards
    • Safety standards
    • Integration with retail markets
    • Improved incomes
  • For example, Van Sampada – states which are enriched with forest-related products.

Logistics & Other provisional Capacities Building 

  • Introduction of PM Matsya Sampada Yojna (PMMSY) aims at:
    • Fulfilling critical gaps
    • Creation of Employment generation
    • Doubling India exports
    • Better standards
    • Incentives and assistance through Insurance of Men & Equipment
    • Promoting Additional Production
    • Empowering Workers to work and Build themselves
    • Increases output of 70 lakhs tonnes over 5 years, a long term measure.
  • Allocation of Rs.20,000 crores from the corpus Rs.2,00,000 crore announced in series in measures.
  • Out of Rs.20,000 crore, Rs.11,000 crore for activities in marine, inland, and aquaculture.
  • Whereas the Rs.9,000 crore for the set up of infrastructure of achievement of objects outlined:
    • Set up of Cold chain
    • Traceability
    • Laboratory networks establishment
    • To Built New fishing harbor
  • Key activities undertaken shall be as follows:
    • Cage culture,
    • Seaweed farming
    • Ornamental fisheries
    • Laboratory network
    • Fishing vessels
  • Focus Areas under the scheme will be as follows:
    • Islands
    • Himalayan States
    • North East
    • Aspirational Districts.

National Animal Disease Control Program

  • To protect the suffering of animals, cattle, farmers of approx.. 53 crores from Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD), and for brucellosis, this NADCP has been initiated.
  • The allocation of the amount is Rs.13,343 crores towards this program.
  • It ensures 100% vaccination of cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goat,& pig population are targeted.
  • Till date, 1.5 crore cows and buffaloes tagged and vaccinated.

Measures for Dairy Sector

  • Allocation of Animal husbandry infrastructure development fund (AHIDF) of Rs.15,000 crore for setting up of the fund for utilization of full potential and recognizing the contribution to the economy.
  • The object is as follows:
    • Support private investment in diary processing,
    • Value addition
    • Cattle feed infrastructure
    • For promoting exports
    • Establishments of plants,
    • Marketing related assistance.

Support for Herbal Cultivation

  • Allocation of the amount of Rs.4,000 crore towards National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) with an object as follows:
    • Addition of 800 hectares area by developing the geographical boundary along the banks of Ganga.
    • Generation of employment of approx. 5000 crores.
    • 1000000 hectares will be covered under Herbal cultivation in the next 2 years.
    • Creation of markets at the regional level as well in cities.
    • Promotion of Make in India initiative.

An initiative towards Beekeeping Promotion & Sustenance

  • As Beekeeping is recognized as the livelihood for supporting activity for rural areas and thus, reduction in honey beekeeping activities  other reasons likes:
    • Benefit the beekeepers in their jobs;
    • Wax for all purposes as are imported can be reduced;
    • Support livelihood of persons employed in such jobs;
    • Increase yields and
    • Improves the quality of crops through cross-pollination.
  • Other Benefits through Beekeeping initiative are as mentioned:
    • Infrastructure development related to :
      • Integrated Beekeeping Development Centres,
      • Collection, Marketing, And Storage Centres,
      • Post Harvest Facilities,
      • Value Addition Facilities etc.
    • Capacity building with thrust on women,
    • Implementation of standards;
    • Development of standards,
    • Development of quality nucleus stock and Beekeepers.
    • Increase in income of 2 lakh beekeepers.
    • Improve the quality of honey to consumers
  • Following such initiative, the amount allocated towards the fulfilment of such objects is Rs.500 crores.

Extension of Operation Greens Scheme (TOP) Scheme

  • In a major announcement, the government extended the Operation Green Tomatoes, Onion & Potatoes  (TOP)  to all the fruits and vegetables.
  • The relative outcome from the initiative:
    • Betterment of supply chains
    • To better distress sale
    • Reduction of price of perishable fruits and vegetables at the farm level.
    • Better price realization to farmers,
    • Reduced wastages
    • Affordability of products to consumers
  • The scheme shall be a pilot project for 6 months
  • The scheme features are as follows:
    • 50% subsidy on transportation from surplus to deficient markets.
    • 50% subsidy on storage, including cold storage.
  • Under this, the expected outcome would be a better price to the farmers and less wastage, affordability of products to the consumers.

Amendments to the Essential Commodities Act to enable better price    realization to the farmers

  • Agriculture foodstuff including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onion, and potato to be deregulated.
  • Stock limit to be imposed under very exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famine with the surge in prices
  • No such stock limit shall apply to processors or value chain participants,subject to their installed capacity.

Therefore, it can be noted that the government is of the opinion that taking long-term measures in view of resolving this pandemic situation, can achieve the object of self- reliant, promoting different sector industries including exports shall help in achieving the object for the growth of the economy.

Related Article: Economic Relief Package Part 1

Related Article: Economic Relief Package Part 2