NEW DELHI/BENGALURU: India’s rural economy has stayed resilient in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, as he launched a Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
It will be a dedicated finance facility which will run for 10 years under which banks and financial institutions will extend loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum. The fund will be used to augment post-harvesting facilities, community farming assets, and help Farmer Producer Organisations. It also seeks to extend financial assistance to the agri-entrepreneurs.
ALSO READ | Prime Minister Modi interacts with Hassan farmer
“Within a month of the Cabinet nod to the scheme, the first sanction of over Rs 1,000 crore was made to over 2,280 farmer societies,” said the PM, who also released the sixth instalment under the PM-Kisan Nidhi to over 8.5 crore farmers and stated that the latter got an additional Rs 27,000 crore this year.
BSY hails initiative
In Bengaluru, CM B S Yediyurappa thanked Modi for the PM-Kisan Scheme where 52.5 lakh identified farmers in the state will receive Rs 2,000 each as instalment directly in their bank accounts, totalling Rs 1,049 crore. Farmers will receive two more instalments this year.
“PM @narendramodi Govt believes India's future lies in the welfare of its farmers. Thanks to @PMOIndia for #PMKISAN Scheme which has benefited over 52.50 lakh farmers in Karnataka, the first installment Rs 1,049 crore will now be credited into their accounts,” the CM tweeted.
PM: Govt measures will change face of farming
Since its launch in December 2018, the PM-Kisan scheme has so far transferred over Rs 90,000 crore to more than 10 crore farmers. The PM added the government will ensure record procurement of farm produce. “The measures taken by the government, including the reforms, will change the face of agriculture in the 21st century. Income from agriculture will grow manifold,” the PM said.
Asking startups to take part in the food processing, he said that over 350 such startups are currently working in the food processing sector using the best of the innovations, including internet of things, smart equipment. He also said that a move is afoot to set up 10,000 FPOs, which will strengthen the hands of the farmers.
During the launch of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, the PM also interacted with a farmer from Hassan, Basave Gowda, via video-conference and asked him what financial aid farmers were receiving from the government and how they farmers were benefitting. Basave Gowda, who represents the Agriculture Credit Cooperative Society, explained that they cultivate maize, ginger, potato and areca and sought support for farmers to get good prices.
He explained that they were working on setting up a godown to store 1,200 metric tons of farm produce with help from NABARD and explained that his organisation supports 2,300 farmers spread over 22 villages. State Agriculture Minister B C Patil tweeted, “I express my sincere gratitude to our PM for identifying Ugane PACS in Hassan District of Karnataka for interaction.”