What is There for Farmers in 20 Lakh Crore Package announced by PM Narendra Modi?
Amid coronavirus pandemic, India is under lockdown for the last 2 months, the economy has gone down, every sector and industry is under distress, affecting the life of many migrant laborers. The agriculture sector is also suffering from crops standing in the fields ready for harvesting and negligible buyers in the market. The supply chain management for agricultural goods has been a challenge for the Indian government these days. To streamline the industry manufacturing, marketing, and to save the failing economy, the government has announced an Rs. 20 lakh crore economic package.
A significant amount of Rs. 1.63 lakh crore has been allocated to the agriculture and allied sector, as announced in the third installment of this package by Finance minister Nirmala to strengthen logistics, capacity building, and infrastructure (cold chains, storage centres, production and packaging yards). This will promote private agriculture establishments, start-ups (which are involved in procuring from farmers and supplying the products to the value addition chain with limited infrastructure facilities), and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). The package will strengthen the farm gate infrastructure and will increase farmers’ income and the affected logistic activities in agriculture will get a push forward.
Addressing the importance of livestock wealth of India (approximately 53 crore animals), animal husbandry/ dairy infrastructure development fund of worth Rs. 15,000 crores have been allotted to encourage private organizations to invest in the sector and to enhance the export of livestock products and cattle feed. The value addition chain will also be benefited from this initiative.
As lockdown conditions made the animal keepers unable to reach veterinary hospitals, the government has also ensured that complete vaccination is to be provided to all animal populations by Launching National Animal Disease Control Program for foot and mouth disease with an outlay of Rs. 13,343 crores. The complete vaccination of cattle, sheep, buffalo, pig, and goat population will be performed under this program.
A support package of Rs. 4000 crores have been allocated for herbal cultivation in India. The herbal cultivation will be under the supervision of the National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB). The board has already supported the cultivation of medicinal crops in 2.25 lakh hectares area and the vision is to bring up to 10 lakh ha more area which will help to generate 5000 crores income.
A sum of Rs. 20,000 crores are also announced for fishermen through Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojna for marine and inland fisheries and aquaculture in continuation of the announcement made during budget session-2020-21. This will facilitate employment for approximately 55 lakh people, doubling India’s export to 1 lakh crore value.
Currently, India is importing Wax (for all purposes; medicinal and edible) that can be stopped, if the beekeeping is promoted in the country, additionally, the bees act as pollination agents, and will improve the productivity of agricultural crops. The job opportunities for rural women will also be increased with bee-farming. Therefore, Rs. 500 crore scheme is announced for infrastructure development related to bee-keeping. This will facilitate approximately 2 lakh bee farmers to increase their business in-country as well as increase the export of bee products.
On 12th May 2020, Honourable Prime Minister said that as per the current scenario, emphasis must be given on local/ indigenous products and quoted “VOCAL FOR LOCAL” to strengthen the Indian economy. In a view to promoting ‘Make in India’ campaign, Rs. 10,000 crore scheme for the formalization of micro food enterprises (MFE) has been allotted, these MFEs will be operated on a cluster-based approach so that the local products can have outreach and marketing of such products is possible at global level following global standards.
Essential Commodities Act has also been amended to enable better price realization for farmers. With this amendment food items such as cereals, edible oil, oilseeds, pulses, onion, and potato have been deregulated under the act. This will wave off the stock limit imposed on any produce. The limit will only be imposed under certain exceptional circumstances i.e. national calamities, famine, etc. Essential agriculture marketing reforms have been adopted to provide marketing choices to farmers. The legal framework to help farmers to fix their own price for products is in process. In the past two months, the government has already facilitated Rs. 73,300 crore support to farmers as minimum support price (MSP).
The lockdown resulted in wastage of many perishable agricultural produces, to resolve this problem, the ‘Operation Greens’ is extended to all fruits and vegetables (tomato, potato, onion and all horticultural produce which comes under perishable category). The need for farm-level support has also been addressed and it is decided that it will be given as a 50% subsidy on transportation and 50% for storage of such perishables.