Nirmala Sitharaman announces Rs 1 lakh crore for agricultural infrastructure

Nirmala Sitharaman announces Rs 1 lakh crore for agricultural infrastructure

The third tranche of special Covid-19 package announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman focused on agriculture and allied activities. She announced creation of a Rs 1 lakh crore fund for building agricultural infrastructure.

The move is aimed at strengthening infrastructure in agriculture, financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore will be provided for funding agriculture infrastructure projects at farm-gate and aggregation points.

Sitharaman said, “Lakh of adequate cold chain and post-harvest management infrastructure in the vicinity of farm-gate causing gaps in value chains.”

She said the fund will be created immediately. The finance minister said largest proportion of India population is dependent on agriculture. Among all those dependent on agriculture, 85 per cent are small and marginal farmers.

Sitharaman announced a scheme for encouraging local food processing businesses on the line of what Prime Minister Narendra Modi called “vocal for local” in his address to the nation on Tuesday evening.

She said the scheme will be launched to help 2 lakh micro food enterprises for improving health and safety standards, integration with retail markets and improved incomes to be key focus areas.

She announced 11 measures on Friday for boosting agriculture sector. Eight of these meausres focus on agricultural infrastructure including aspects of supply chain, she said.