Agriculture Sector Current Affairs - 2020

‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’ gets Union Cabinet Approval

On 8th July 2020, a new pan India Central Sector Scheme was given approval by the Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  The new Central Sector Scheme is called ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’.

The scheme ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’ was announced by Union Finance Minister as a part of the Rs 20 Lakh crore AtmaNirbhar Bharat package. Under the scheme, financial support of up to Rs 1 lakh crore will be provided as loans through the banks and financial institutions in the country to the Agricultural Sector such as Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), Startups, Primary Agricultural Credit Societies, Agri- entrepreneurs, etc.

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

  • The duration of the scheme is for 10 years- from the financial year 2020-21 to 2029-30.
  • Management Information System (MIS) platform will be used for managing and monitoring the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
  • Loans of Rs 1 lakh crore will be sanctioned and disbursed under the scheme, out of which Rs 10,000 crore in the current 2020-21 financial year while Rs 30,000 crore will be sanctioned and disbursed in each of next three upcoming financial year.
  • A subsidized rate of interest will be provided to the loans issued under the scheme. The rate of interest will be 3 percent per annum. The 3 percent rate of interest will be applicable for a loan of up to Rs 2 crore.
  • The moratorium for repayment of the loan will vary from a maximum of 2 years to a minimum of 6 months.
  • Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) will provide credit guarantee coverage to eligible borrowers. The credit guarantee coverage will be provided for loans of up to Rs 2 crore.

Sown Crop Area has increased by 36%

On April 20, 2020, the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare announced that the sown crop area of summer crops has increased by 36%. Farming had been completely exempted from lock down.

Highlights

The rise has been mainly observed in rice cultivation. Rainfall has increased by 14% as compared to last year. The total summer crops have increased by more than 52 hectares.

Harvesting

In Madhya Pradesh, harvesting has increased by 95%, Rajasthan has increased by 85% and Uttar Pradesh by 65%. The harvesting has been at its peak in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Measures to Ease Lock Down

Also, to ease the transport of harvested food grains in the country, All India Agri Transport Call Centre was launched. The initiative will help in coordination between truck drivers, traders and manufacturers from different states.

Also, the “Krishi Rath App” was launched to help farmers find right transport services for their harvested food grains. It will act as a common platform for traders, farmers and truck aggregators.