Government approves agriculture infrastructure fund of Rs 1 lakh crore
The government on Wednesday approved to set up an agriculture infrastructure fund with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore. Agriculture infrastructure fund is set up to provide financial support to entrepreneurs, start-ups, agri-tech players and farmer groups for infrastructure, and logistics facilities. The cabinet took the decision in the cabinet meeting, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Financial facilities of over Rs 1 lakh crore will be provided to primary agriculture credit societies, farmers groups, farmer producer organisations (FPOs), agri entrepreneurs, start ups and agriculture tech players. Loans will be disbursed in four years starting with sanction of Rs 10,000 crore in the current year and Rs 30,000 crore each in the next three financial years.
The Agriculture Infra Fund was part of the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package announced in response to the COVID-19 disaster. The government has set up the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES Fund) to deal with any kind of emergency or distress situation like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund is a public charitable trust with the Prime Minister as its Chairman. Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister are the other members.
Agriculture Market Infrastructure Fund (AMIF) is set up with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for the development and up-gradation of agricultural marketing infrastructure in Gramin Agricultural Markets and Regulated Wholesale Markets. The Agriculture Market Infrastructure Fund was announced in 2018 Budget for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22,000 Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) and 585 Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC). The fund will provide subsidised loans to states and Union Territories for 585 APMC mandis and 10,000 GrAMs. States can also utilise this fund for innovative integrated market infrastructure projects, including hub and spoke model and in private-public partnership mode.