01 June 2023, New Delhi: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the constitution and empowerment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for the facilitation of the “World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector” through the convergence of various schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
To ensure time-bound and uniform implementation of the Plan in a professional manner, the Ministry of Cooperation will implement a pilot project in at least 10 selected Districts of different States/ UTs in the country. The Pilot would provide valuable insights into the various regional requirements of the project, the learnings from which will be suitably incorporated for the country-wide implementation of the Plan.
An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) will be constituted under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Cooperation, with the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Minister of Food Processing Industries and Secretaries concerned as members to modify guidelines/ implementation methodologies of the schemes of the respective Ministries as and when the need arises, within the approved outlays and prescribed goals, for facilitation of the ‘World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector’ by the creation of infrastructure such as godowns, etc. for Agriculture and Allied purposes, at selected ‘viable’ Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS).
The Plan would be implemented by utilizing the available outlays provided under the identified schemes of the respective Ministries. The following schemes have been identified for convergence under the Plan:
(a) Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare:
i. Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF),
ii. Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure Scheme (AMI),
iii. Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH),
iv. Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)
(b) Ministry of Food Processing Industries:
i. Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme (PMFME),
ii. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)
(c) Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution:
i. Allocation of food grains under the National Food Security Act,
ii. Procurement operations at Minimum Support Price
Benefits of the Plan
The plan is multi-pronged – it aims to address not just the shortage of agricultural storage infrastructure in the country by facilitating the establishment of godowns at the level of PACS, but would also enable PACS to undertake various other activities, viz:
– Functioning as Procurement centers for State Agencies/ Food Corporation of India (FCI);
– Serving as Fair Price Shops (FPS);
– Setting up custom hiring centers;
– Setting up common processing units, including assaying, sorting, grading units for agricultural produce, etc.
Further, the creation of decentralized storage capacity at the local level would reduce food grain wastage and strengthen the food security of the country.
Providing various options to the farmers would prevent the distress sale of crops, thus enabling the farmers to realize better prices for their produce.
It would hugely reduce the cost incurred in the transportation of food grains to procurement centers and again transporting the stocks back from warehouses to FPS.
Through a ‘whole-of-Government’ approach, the Plan would strengthen PACS by enabling them to diversify their business activities, thus enhancing the incomes of the farmer members as well.
Time frame and manner of implementation
- National Level Coordination Committee will be formed within one week of the Cabinet approval.
- Implementation guidelines will be issued within 15 days of the Cabinet approval.
- A portal for the linkage of PACS with Govt. of India and State Governments will be rolled out within 45 days of the Cabinet approval.
- Implementation of the proposal will start within 45 days of the Cabinet approval.
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