New Delhi, June 26 : The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today gave its approval for revision and continuation of the Central Sector Scheme, 'Development/Strengthening of Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure, Grading and Standardization.'
The scheme would be revised during XI Plan period with a total outlay of Rs.706.40 crore with suitable modifications in its Operational Guidelines as given below:
(i) No major structural changes should be made in the scheme, before a rigorous and critical, independent evaluation of the scheme is made
(ii) Under functional marketing infrastructure, transportation facilities have been excluded in the Scheme. However, reefer vans, or any other refrigerated vans used for transporting agricultural produce, which are essential for maintaining cold supply chains, will be allowed for assistance under the scheme.
(iii) Autonomous bodies of the Government will be included in the eligibility list under the scheme.
(iv) Marketing infrastructure created under the scheme will be allowed to be used by the entrepreneurs for their own purpose also during the lean period, besides providing the 'direct' service delivery to producers / farming community.
(v) It will be laid down in the guidelines that the subsidy component will be released as Central assistance to the board / state agency in two equal instalments depending on the progress of the work, of which, the second instalment shall be released only on getting a progress report of the project from the State Agency concerned, showing that they have completely made their contribution for the project and have got it utilized fully and that the project requires only an amount equivalent to the second instalment from the Central Government for its completion.
The revised scheme will help in expanding marketing / post-harvest infrastructure facilities in the country by inducing private / public and cooperative sector investment and will also help in improving the efficiency of existing infrastructure with the State Agencies.