PM Modi launches financing facility under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund
New Delhi, Aug 09: PAsserting that the government's agri-reforms are focused on empowering small farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore under the Agri-Infra Fund that will help create post harvest infrastructure in villages and generate jobs.
He also said that the country does not face problems in farm production but in post-harvest losses and therefore efforts are being made to strengthen post harvest infrastructure facilities and ensure better income for farmers.
Modi launched the fund through a video conference on the auspicious occasion of Balram Jayanthi, a day when farmers worship plough. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and farmers from some states also participated in the video conference.
"On this auspicious occasion, a special fund of Rs 1 lakh crore has been launched to create agriculture-related infrastructure facilities in the country.
"This will help in creating better storage facilities and modern cold storage chains in villages. Many employment opportunities will get created in villages," Modi said after the launch.
The Prime Minister reiterated that India has a huge opportunity to invest in post-harvest management solutions like warehousing, cold chain, and food processing, and build a global presence in areas such as organic and fortified foods. He also mentioned that this scheme provides a good opportunity for start-ups in agriculture to avail the benefits and scale their operations, thereby creating an ecosystem that reaches farmers in every corner of the country.
Modi also interacted with farmers from Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh who are among the initial beneficiaires of the credit facility under this new fund through Primary Agricultural Credit Societies for creating post harvest facilities. Under the Agri-Infra Fund, about Rs 1 lakh crore will be sanctioned under the financing facility in partnership with multiple lending institutions as loans to Primary Agri Credit Societies (PACS), farmer groups, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), agri-entrepreneurs, start-ups and agri-tech players. Already, 11 of the 12 public sector banks have signed initial agreements with the Agriculture Ministry.
Under the fund, about 3 per cent interest subvention and credit guarantee of up to Rs 2 crore will be provided to the beneficiaries to increase the viability of the projects. Loans will be disbursed in four years starting with a sanction of Rs 10,000 crore in the current year and Rs 30,000 crore each in the next three financial years.
Modi also released the sixth instalment of funds of Rs 17,000 crore to 8.5 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme. The scheme has also been instrumental in supporting farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted.
''Rs 17,000 crores of PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi have been deposited into bank accounts of 8.5 crore farmers with a single click. No middlemen or commission, it went straight to farmers. I am satisfied because the objective of the scheme is being fulfilled,'' Modi said.
In a series of tweets in Hindi, he extended greetings, especially to the farming community on the occasion. Hal chhath is a festival dedicated to Balaram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna.