Highlights: COVID-19 Relief Package Announcements Pt.3

Highlights: COVID-19 Relief Package Announcements Pt.3

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the third tranche of the mammoth Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package today. 

The eleven measures announced today dealt with upgrading farm infrastructure, animal husbandry & fisheries, and governance reforms. The finance minister said that the three tranches of stimulus announced so far are aimed at empowering people to help them become self-sufficient and earn livelihoods. 

The finance minister, flanked by MoS Anurag Thakur and secretaries in the finance ministry, started her daily rounds of the press conference from Wednesday unveiling the Modi government’s mega COVID-19 stimulus of Rs 20 lakh crore. 

During her first interaction on Wednesday, she focussed on the MSME sector, NBFCs, and power discoms. India Inc welcomed the measures announced for the beleaguered MSME sector saying that they will mitigate the pain and help in saving jobs. 

The second set of relief measures was announced on Thursday particularly aimed at migrant workers and urban poor. The finance minister announced free ration for those who do not have a ration card in the states they are residing. She also announced a single ration card that will be applicable across the country. Also, incentives for providing rental accommodation for migrant workers were announced at the press conference on Thursday. 

She also rolled out a special credit facility worth Rs 5,000 crore for street vendors and offered concessional credit through Kisan Credit Cards to small and marginal farmers. The extension of the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme until March 2021 will provide a Rs 70,000 crore booster shot to the affordable housing segment. 

Key Takeaways

The third tranche deals with framers, food processing and allied activities. Eleven measures have been announced today. Eight are related to strengthening infrastructure, the rest three will deal with governance and administrative reforms. 

Also, in the last two months, the government took following steps to provide relief to agriculture and dairy sector: 

  • Rs 74,300 crore of purchases based on MSP happened during lockdown.
  • Rs 18,700 crore transferred to farmers under PM Kisan.
  • Under Fasal Bima Yojana, Rs 6,400 cr claims processed

For Animal Husbandry: 

The dairy industry was under severe difficulty. Around 560 lakh liters of milk per day were procured by Co-operatives. Rs 5,000 cr additional liquidity has been transferred to dairy farmers. A total of 111 crore liters of milk was procured. 

New scheme utilized for interest subvention for 2% for dairy farmers. Additional 2% for prompt service. 

New Announcements:

Upgrading Infrastructure

1. One lakh crore fund for strengthening the farm gate infrastructure like cold chains, post-harvest storage infrastructures, etc. 

2. Rs 10,000 crore fund for micro food schemes will be executed with a cluster-based approach. Will benefit 2 lakh Micro Food Enterprises. For instance, Bihar can have a Makhana cluster, Kashmir can have Kesar cluster, Telangana can have Turmeric cluster, Andhra can have chili cluster.

3. Govt will launch Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for the development of marine and inland fisheries. Rs 20,000 crore will be spent to fill the gaps in value chains. This will lead to an additional fish production of 70 lakh tons in the next five years and provide employment to 55 lakh people. 

4. Rs 13,343 crore for vaccination of livestock in India to eradicate foot and mouth disease. 

5. Rs 15,000 crore will be spent on ramping up the dairy infrastructure. Also, investments will be made in cattle feed. 

6. Rs 4,000 crore for growing of herbal and medicinal plants. Ten lakh hectares of land will be used for growing medicinal and herbal plants and will provide an income of nearly Rs 5,000 crore for farmers. 

7. Rs 500 crore has been allocated for beekeeping. This will help 2 lakh beekeepers. 

8. TOP to TOTAL: Rs 500 crore for Operation Greens that will be extended beyond tomatoes, potatoes, and onion and will apply to all vegetables. 

Governance Reforms:

9. Propose an amendment to the Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realization for farmers. Food stuff including edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions, and potato will be deregulated. And stock limits will be imposed only under exceptional circumstances like famine and surge in prices. 

Agriculture Marketing Reforms

10. A central law will be formulated to provide 

  • Adequate choices to sell produce at an attractive price.
  • Barrier-free inter-state trade.
  • Framework for e-trading of agriculture produce

Agriculture Produce Price and Quality Assurance

11. The facilitative legal framework will be created to enable farmers for engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters, etc. in a fair and transparent manner. Risk mitigation for farmers assured returns and quality standardization shall form an integral part of the framework.

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