THIRD ROUND – FISHERMEN AND BEE-KEEPERS HOOT LOUD!

about 3 months ago
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Today, the third tranche of the stimulus is focused on agriculture, fisheries, dairy, animal husbandry, food processing and allied services.

There are 11 measures today of which 8 are for strengthening of infrastructure, capacity and building logistics for the agri sector. And 3 focused on governance and administration.

At the end of this third round, one could not help but feel how are all these measures really going to help the smallest farmer or even the fisherman when he is trying to survive the Covid crisis? We thought this was a stimulus whose aim was to alleviate the immediate situation first but what we increasingly feel now is that these tranches are more and more like a huge Budget. All the measures announced are dealing with the supply-side issues but what about the demand? Majority of the measures announced in these three rounds will not give any benefit in the short term. We understand that it is better to teach a person to fish rather than feed him but when there is so much suffering and hunger, its like showing him a cake when he does not have bread to eat now.

Its commendable that they are looking at diary, bee-keeping, herbal cultivation; but at this point of time, somehow these measures generate no euphoria. Also the biggest doubt in everyone’s mind is how much of all this will really reach the people. Yesterday the FM announced loans to be given to the street vendors but do we really see a vada-pav or fruits vendor getting a loan sanctioned from a bank? So all these measures are very well researched and reaches the ground level but implementation is a BIG question mark.

Measures for animal husbandry:

  • Interest subvention of 2% pa to dairy co-operatives and additional 2% pa interest subvention on prompt payment/interest servicing.

Measures for fisheries:

  • Registration of 242 shrimp hatcheries and Naupli Rearing hatcheries expiring on 31st March’20, to be extended by three more months.

Measures for farm-gate infrastructure:

  • Financing facility of Rs.1,00,000 crore to be provided for funding agri infra projects at farm-gate (cold chains and storage) and aggregation points. Fund to be created immediately.

Measures for micro food enterprises:

  • Rs.10,000 crore scheme for formalization of Micro food enterprises, farm producer organisations, self help groups and co-operatives to use cluster based approach to promote untapped wellness and export markets.

Measures for Fishermen

  • Known as Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) aimed at development of marine, aquaculture and inland fisheries – Rs.11,000 crore and develop infrastructure for fishing harbours, cold chain, markets - Rs.9000 crore.
  • The key activities covered under the scheme will be cage culture, seaweed farming, ornamental fisheries along with procuring new fishing vessels, improving traceability and building a laboratory network.
  • Focus will be on islands, Himalayan states, north east India and aspirational districts

100% vaccination of all cattle (nearly 53 crore animals) to eradicate foot and mouth disease

Measures for Dairy:

  • Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund of Rs.15,000 crore
  • Private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure
  • Incentives to be given for establishing plants for export of niche products

Measures for herbal cultivation:

  • Rs.4000 crore allocated wherein around 10 lakh hectare to come under herbal cultivation. 800 hectares along Ganga might be used for growing herbal and medicinal plants.

Measures for bee-keeping:

  • Rs.500 crore for bee-keeping initiatives to benefit 2 lakh keepers; production of wax to be given impetus

Measures under Operation Green:

  • To extend Operation Green, which currently covers tomatoes, onions and potatoes, to all fruits and vegetables and perishables.
  • 50% subsidy on transport from surplus to deficient markets and 50% subsidy on storage
  • Pilot to be run for 6-months which will be extended once pilot is cleared.

Amendments To Essential Commodities Act

  • Cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes will now be deregulated.
  • Stock limit imposed under very exceptional circumstances like a famine with surge in prices.
  • No stock limit shall apply for storage

Agriculture Marketing Reforms:

New Central law will be formulated which will-

a) to provide adequate choices to farmers to sell their produce at attractive prices,

b) remove barriers on inter-state trade

c) establish a framework for e-trading of agriculture produce.

Agriculture produce price and quality assurance:

  • Facilitative legal framework to ensure that farmers get a predictable price and predictable sales of their produce.
  • Assured price return quantity for farmers prior to sowing

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