NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on Sunday transferred Rs 17,000 crore directly into the bank accounts of 8.5 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme. He said the scheme has been successful in its objective to provide financial support to farmers without any involvement of middlemen.
The PM also 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.
Modi 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.
PM 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.