Operation Green, reforms for agricultural sector: FM’s slew of measures today

FM Nirmala Sitharaman (file image)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman specified that on the third day, the focus is on agriculture, food processing and allied activities, that are the backbone of the country.

The Indian farmer has made India reach global standards and have suffered because of the pandemic.

This is the third in the series of press conferences meant to outline India’s efforts to reboot its economy that has been hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, 11 measures were announced. 8 related to strengthen infrastructure and processes. 3 pertained to governance and administrative reforms. 

1)    1 lakh crore Agri-infrastructure fund for farm-gate infrastructure for farmers and aggregator points.

2)    Rs 10,000 crores scheme for the formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE): scheme will benefit 2 lakh MFEs and will promote ‘vocal for local with global outreach’. Cluster based approach will be adopted.

3)    Rs. 20,000 crore for fisherman through Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojna (PMMSY). Will lead to additional fish production of 70 lakh over 5 years. Employment to over 55 lakh persons and will double exports to Rs. 1 lakh crore.

4)    National Animal Disease Control Programme: the outlay of Rs. 13, 343 crores will help handle the foot and mouth disease common in animals. 1.5 crore cows and buffaloes will be vaccinated and tagged.

5)    Rs 15,000 crore will be spent on animal husbandry infrastructure development fund. Incentives to be given to establish plants for the export of niche products. Aim to support Dairy processing.

6)    Promotion of herbal cultivation with an outlay of Rs. 4000 crore. This will lead to Rs. 5000 crore income generation for farmers. NMPB will bring 800-hectare area by developing a corridor of medicinal plants along the banks of river Ganga.

7)    Rs 500 crore for beekeeping initiatives. Will lead to income for 2 lakh beekeepers.

8)    Rs. 500 crore for Operation Green: to be extended to all fruits and vegetables. A pilot for 6 months.

Apart from the above, three more reforms have been announced. 

1)    Essential Commodities Act will be amended to enable better price realization for farmers.

2)    Agriculture marketing reforms to provide marketing choices to the farmers. Barrier-free inter-state trade and e-trading of agriculture produce will be allowed. He doesn’t have to only sell to the licensees in APMCs.

3)    Agriculture produce price and quality Assurance: farmers lack mechanism for predictable prices of crops at the time of sowing. He needs to be given assurance of a price in advance. A facilitative legal framework will be created to enable them to fix their own fair price. Will enhance standardization and assurance for a farmer’s crop and will mitigate risks.

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