Saturday, July 24, 2021

Cabinet allows APMCs to use Rs 1 lakh cr Agriculture Infrastructure Fund; PM Modi terms it important decision for farmer welfare

The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the Coconut Development Board Act, 1979 to make it more efficient to carry out the activities of farming and production of coconut. Addressing the media in New Delhi last evening, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that with this decision, now the Chairman of the Board will be a non executive person but will be the person having the knowledge and experience of the agriculture sector. Mr Tomar said, the Coconut Development Board will now carry out the activities related to the development of coconut outside the country too.
In another decision, the Cabinet gave its approval to the modifications in the Central Sector Scheme of Financing Facility under ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund. Mr Tomar said, the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) will now be allowed to use the One lakh crore rupees to Agriculture Infrastructure Fund which has been announced as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Package. The Agriculture Minister said, now APMCs will be eligible to get the benefits of this fund to improve their infrastructure. He said, APMCs will be further strengthened and mandis will not be abolished. Mr Tomar said, this shows the Narendra Modi government’s commitment towards farmers’ welfare. He said, eligibility has now been extended to State Agencies, National and State Federations of Cooperatives, Federations of Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) and Federations of Self Help Groups

The Agriculture Minister said, for APMCs, interest subvention for a loan upto  2 crore rupees  will be provided for each project of different infrastructure types like  cold storage, sorting, grading and assaying units and silos, within the same market yard.

Mr Tomar also informed that at present interest subvention for a loan upto two crore rupees in one location is eligible under the scheme. In case, one eligible entity puts up projects in different locations then all such projects will now be eligible for interest subvention for loan upto  two crore rupees. However, for a private sector entity there will be a limit of a maximum of 25  such projects. In reply to a question on farmers’ agitation on three farm laws, Mr Tomar said, the government has repeatedly appealed to farmers’ Union that it is ready to discuss with them any proposal related to these laws except their demand of repealing them. He said, the government is sensitive to the farmers’ issues and the government is making efforts for their empowerment and providing more facilities to them. Mr Tomar said, the three laws are also in this direction and the farmers should understand their  importance. Mr Tomar appealed to the farmers to end their protest and take the path of talks as the government is ready to discuss with them.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, a new package of more than 23 thousand crore rupees has been approved to further strengthen the fight against COVID.
In a tweet, Mr Modi said that under this, necessary arrangements like pediatric care units to ICU beds, oxygen storage, ambulances and medicines will be made in all the districts of the country. He said that in the Cabinet meeting yesterday, important decisions regarding agriculture and farmers’ welfare have been taken. He added that in order to empower the mandis, arrangements have also been made for the use of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
Home Minister Amit Shah has welcomed the decision of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for approving modifications in the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
He said, this decision has included State Agencies (APMCs), National and State Federations of Cooperatives, Self Help Groups and Federation of Farmers Producers Organizations in the ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund. It has also extended the interest subvention scheme and a guarantee for a loan up to two crore rupees for each project for a maximum of 25 projects.
Mr Shah said that this historic decision is a reflection of the resolve of the Modi government to further strengthen the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) system. This decision will not only further empower the APMCs but will also increase employment opportunities and benefit more and more people.
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