27 August 2020, New Delhi: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar held a detailed discussion with Chief Ministers and State Agriculture Ministers on recent agriculture market reforms and the new Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of Rs. 1 Lakh Crore.
The event was conducted through Video Conference and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mr. Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr. Uddhav Thackeray, and Agriculture Ministers of Rajasthan, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, and Union Ministers of State for Agriculture Mr. Purshottam Rupala and Mr. Kailash Choudhary participated in the discussion.
During the discussion, Mr. Tomar emphasized that the focus of the fund is to improve post-harvest management infrastructure and availability of community farming assets, and it is to be ensured that small and medium farmers receive full benefit. The Chief Ministers and State Agriculture Ministers gave full assurance that no stone will be left unturned in ensuring utilization of the Rs 1 lakh crore fund, and new infrastructure will be created in all the villages.
Agriculture Infrastructure Fund
The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee. The duration of the scheme shall be from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years).
Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum and credit guarantee coverage under CGTMSE for loans up to Rs. 2 Crore. The beneficiaries will include farmers, FPOs, PACS, Marketing Cooperative Societies, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Start-ups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.
There was a detailed discussion on the opportunity across states to invest in post-harvest management solutions and community farming assets like modern silos, cold chains, integrated pack-houses, and IoT/ precision agriculture. The group also exchanged views on how different groups, including FPOs, PACS, and start-ups, can avail the benefits under the scheme, thereby creating an ecosystem that reaches farmers in every corner of the country.
Mr. Tomar emphasized how states should explore convergence with multiple central and state schemes to improve the economics of the investments under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund. Mr. Vivek Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare made a presentation on the plan and suggested to create a Project Management Unit in the States.