Agriculture Infrastructure Fund
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on 9 August 2020 launch a financing facility of Rs one lakh crore under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund. He will also release the sixth instalment of funds of Rs 17,000 crore to 8.5 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme, an official statement said on 8 August 2020. The virtual event will be witnessed by lakhs of farmers and cooperatives across the country.
- The Union Cabinet had approved the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under the “Agriculture Infrastructure Fund” of Rs one lakh crore.
- The fund will catalyse the creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets such as cold storage, collection centres and processing units.
- These assets will enable the farmers to get greater value for their produce as they will be able to store and sell at higher prices, reduce wastage and increase processing and value addition. Rs one lakh crore will be sanctioned under the financing facility in partnership with multiple lending institutions.
- Eleven of the 12 public sector banks have already signed MoUs with the Department of Agriculture. A three per cent interest subvention and credit guarantee of up to Rs 2 crore will be provided to the beneficiaries to increase the viability of these projects.
- The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-KISAN) scheme, launched on December 1 2018, has provided a direct cash benefit of over Rs 75,000 crore to more than 9.9 crore farmers. This has enabled them to fulfil their agricultural requirements and support their families.
- The scheme has also been instrumental in supporting farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the release of nearly Rs 22,000 crore.
Management Information System
- The agri-infra fund will be managed and monitored through an online Management Information System (MIS) platform and will enable all the qualified entities to apply for loan under the fund.
- The online platform will also provide benefits such as transparency of interest rates offered by multiple banks, scheme details including interest subvention and credit guarantee offered, minimum documentation, faster approval process as well integration with other scheme benefits.
- The ministry said that facilitating formal credit to farm and farm processing-based activities is expected to create numerous job opportunities in rural areas.
What is the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund?
- The agri-infra fund was part of the over ₹20 lakh crore stimulus package announced in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
- The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, the duration of which will be 10 years till 2029, aims to provide medium-to-long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support.
- The move aimed to boost private investment and generate more jobs in rural areas.