Key Highlights of the Press Briefing by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 15th 2020

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman released the third tranche of the ₹20 lakh crore economic package today with a focus on agriculture, fisheries and allied activities.

Union FM today announced setting up of Rs 1 lakh crore agriculture infrastructure fund for farm-gate infrastructure and a Rs 10,000 crore scheme for the formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE).

The previous two parts of the package were focused on MSMEs, NBFCs, MFIs, migrant workers, street vendors and small farmers.

“Indian farmers have always ensured that despite their small holding, they will give high yields”– Nirmala Sitharaman

Today’s announcements :

“The third tranche of announcement focuses on agriculture and allied activities” – FM Sitharaman

1) 11 measures were announced of which 8 measures related to strengthening infrastructure, increasing capacities & building better logistics while the remaining three pertains to governance and administrative reforms.

2) During lockdown

  • Minimum Support Price purchases worth 74,300 crore has taken place,
    • Rs 18,700 crore transferred to farmers under PM KISAN Yojana Scheme
    • Rs 6,400 crore released under PM Fasal Bima Yojana

3) Animal husbandry

  • A new scheme has been launched for interest subvention at 2 per cent per annum to dairy cooperatives for 2020-21 aimed at unlocking Rs 5,000 crore liquidity , benefitting 2 crore farmers.
    • Additional 2% interest subvention on prompt payment/ interest servicing
    • Rs 15000 crore to be spent for dairy infrastructure by the government. Private investment will also be allowed in dairy infrastructure development fund.

4) Micro food enterprises

  • The Rs 10,000 crore fund will help MFEs market to the world India’s organic, herbal, nutritional, health based items, in which India has great strength.
  • 2 lakh unorganised Micro Food Enterprises will be helped by a scheme that will aim to promote the ‘Vocal for Local’ vision of our Prime Minister.
  • This will be a cluster based approach, with which, local value added products can reach global markets.
  • Scheme promotes vision of Hon. PM ‘Vocal for Local with Global Outreach’
  • Kashmir’s kesar, Bihar’s makhana, Karnataka’s ragi, and Andhra’s chillies as examples of clusters. Under Van Sampada Scheme, states can also take benefits from clusters under Vocal for Local mission.

5) Fisheries sector

  • To help the Fisheries sector, operations of Marine Capture Fisheries and Aquaculture has been relaxed to cover Inland Fisheries.
    • Rs 20,000 crore package announced for 70 lakh tonnes of additional fish production in the next five years under ‘Matsya Sampada Yojana’, which in turn will provide employment to over 55 lakh people & double India’s exports to Rs 1 lakh crore.

6) Agri Infrastructure Fund

  • Rs 1 lakh crore Agri Infrastructure Fund for farm-gate infrastructure for farmers
    • Financing facility of Rs. 1 lakh crore to be provided for funding Agriculture Infrastructure Projects at farm-gate and aggregation points (Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies, Farmers Producer Organisations, Agriculture entrepreneurs)

7) Control of diseases

  • A programme ‘National Animal Disease Control Programme for foot and mouth disease (FMD) and Brucellosis’ will be launched to ensure 100 per cent vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population (a total of 53 crore animals) for FMD and brucellosis.
    • Total outlay would be of Rs 13,343 crore.

8) Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Fund

  • Rs 15,000 crore fund to be established
    • For dairy infrastructure and cattle feed infrastructure
    • Incentivise private investments

09) Bee-keeping

  • A total of Rs 500 Crore has been allocated for bee keeping – benefiting 2 lakh bee keepers in the rural areas.
    • The move is likely to lift rural economy.

10) Herbal cultivation

  • Govt to spend Rs 4,000 crore for herbal plant cultivation
    • Around 10 lakh hectares will be covered in the next two years, giving Rs 5,000 crore more earnings to the related farmers.

11) Essential Commodities Act (1955) amended

  • Essential Commodity Act to be amended to tackle abundance of crops by deregulating it
    • Cereals, edible oils, oil seeds, potato and onion to be deregulated
    • No stock limit will be applied for food processors, this in-turn will help farmers in earning adequate price of their produce and will also help in boosting exports

12) ‘TOP’ to total

  • Under top to total yojana, operation greens for growing tomatoes, onion and potatoes has been extended to other items including all fruits & vegetables
    • Perishable items will get protection under this move
    • Scheme will provide 50% subsidy on transportation and storage
    • Additional Rs 500 crore for supply chains disrupted by lockdown
    • Pilot for 6 months & will be extended once pilot is cleared

13) Fair price for farmers

  • Central law to provide farmers choice to sell at attractive prices
    • Inter-state trade to be made barrier-free
    • E-trade of produce should be facilitated

14) The FM also announced the ‘One Nation One Ration card’ scheme under which migrants will be enabled to access Public Distribution System from any Fair Price Shop in the country by March 2021.

Stay tuned for further stimulus package being announced by the FM.