Nirmala Sitharaman brings amendment to essential commodities act

In the third tranche of the ₹20 lakh crore economic package announced by PM Modi, the Union Finance Minister announced 11 measures focusing on agriculture and allied activities.

Nirmala Sitharaman brings amendment to essential commodities act

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday released the third tranche of the ₹20 lakh crore economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with agriculture and allied activities. Of the 11 measures to be announced today, eight will focus on logistics and storage while three are related to governance, the FM said.

While addressing the media in a press conference, Nirmala Sitharaman announced an amendment to essential commodities act of 1955 which will help farmers in earning adequate price for their produce. The agriculture foodstuff including cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, potato and onion will be deregulated, the FM said. 

Furthermore, the Finance Minister announced that the government will bring central law for farmers so that they can sell their produce at attractive prices. “The inter-state barrier will also be lifted for the farmers to sell their produce. The farmers will be able to sell their crops outside APMCs,” Sitharaman said while adding that e-trade for the same will be facilitated. 

Moreover, the legal framework will also be created to help farmers to fix their own price and they will get price return quantity assurance before sowing the crops. 

The Finance Minister said that ₹500 crores will be allocated to the existing scheme of Operation Green and same will be extended to tomatoes, onion, potatoes and all fruits and vegetables. 

“The funds will be used for the supply chains which have been disrupted by the lockdown. 50 per cent subsidy will be provided on transportation and storage (including cold storage) of the same,” Sitharaman said. 

Moreover, ₹1 lakh crores have been allocated for aggregators, FPOs to strengthen farm gat infrastructure and these funds will benefit the cold chains, post-harvest management along with the storage centres. This will help the private entrepreneurs and start-ups, the FM said. 

The FM announced ₹15,000 crores for animal husbandry infrastructure development fund which will be used for dairy infrastructure and cattle feed infrastructure while the private investments will be incentivised. Meanwhile, ₹13,343 crores have been allocated for vaccinating nearly 53 crore animals under National Animal Disease programme to eradicate foot and mouth disease. 

₹20,000 crores have been given for fishermen through the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana. “This will lead to additional fish production of 70 lakh tonnes over 5 years. The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana will generate employment for 55 lakh people,” the FM said. 

Nirmala Sitharaman announced 4,000 crores to the National Medicinal Plants Board to promote herbal cultivation. “Almost 10 lakh hectare will be brought for herbal cultivation and will generate ₹5,000 crore income for farmers,” the FM said while adding that the herbal cultivation can be done across the banks of Ganga river. 

Along with this, Sitharaman said that ₹6,400 crores were released under PM Fasal Bima Yojana and ₹18,700 crores were transferred to farmers under PM Kisan Samman Yojana. 

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