PM Modi Launches Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Worth INR 1 Lakh Crore
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In a significant boost to the country’s agriculture sector and to aid farmers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced an Agriculture Infrastructure Fund worth INR 1 lakh crore to give a leg up to post-harvest management and marketing of agricultural produce.
Speaking on the occasion, PM Modi said the scheme will provide better warehousing and cold storage facilities for farmers. He said the scheme will provide new jobs as food processing and post-harvest facilities are set up in rural areas.
The Prime Minister launched the fund through a video conference in the presence of agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and senior ministry officials
The scheme will aid startups to scale up their operations and help India to mark its presence in organic and fortified food. The fund was launched with INR 1,128 crore of new loans being disbursed to more than 2,200 cooperative societies.
Modi said the scheme shall provide financial boost to farmers and the agriculture sector, and increase India’s ability to compete on the global stage.
Last month, the Union Cabinet had approved this fund as part of the over INR 20 lakh crore stimulus package announced in the wake of COVID-19 crisis. The fund with a duration of 10 years will provide medium- to long-term debt financing for setting up of post-harvest infrastructure and community assets for marketing of farm produce.
"Today, our farmers have a choice. If he wants to deal with his produce in his field, he can. Or he can directly connect with the warehouse or whoever pays the higher price," the Prime Minister said.
Under the infrastructure scheme, a loan worth INR 1 lakh crore can be disbursed by banks and financial institutions with interest subvention of 3 per cent per annum and credit guarantee coverage under CGTMSE scheme for loans up to INR 2 crore.
The Prime Minister also initiated the transfer of INR 17,000 crore to an estimated 85 million farmers under the sixth instalment of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. With the latest transfer, the scheme has provided over INR 90,000 crore to over 100 million farmers since its launch in 2018.