Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a financing mechanism of Rs 1 lakh crore under the Agricultural Infrastructure Fund for agricultural entrepreneurs, start-ups, agri-tech players and farmers’ groups for post-harvest management and fostering. of agricultural assets.
Modi also handed out the sixth installment of Rs 17.1 billion to more than Rs 8.55 crore beneficiary farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme.
The Prime Minister launched the new Agricultural Infrastructure Fund via video conference. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and senior ministry officials were also present at the occasion.
Last month, the Union Cabinet approved this fund as part of the Rs 20 lakh crore plus stimulus package announced in response to the COVID-19 crisis, while PM-KISAN is an ongoing scheme being implemented since 2018.
The new agricultural infrastructure fund, whose duration will be 10 years until 2029, aims to provide a medium and long-term debt financing mechanism to invest in viable community agricultural assets and post-harvest management infrastructure projects by subsidizing interest and financing. support.
Under this, around Rs 1 lakh crore will be sanctioned under the financing mechanism in association with multiple lending institutions as loans to primary agricultural credit societies, farmers groups, farmers and producers organizations (FPOs), agricultural entrepreneurs, startups and agtech players. .
Already, 11 of the 12 public sector banks have signed a memorandum of agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Under the fund, beneficiaries will be provided with an interest subsidy of around 3 per cent and a credit guarantee of up to Rs 2 crore to increase the viability of the projects.
The loans will be disbursed over 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.
The payment moratorium under this line of financing may vary, subject to a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years.
In addition, credit guarantee cover will be available to eligible borrowers of this financing facility under the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust Scheme for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) for a loan of up to Rs 2 crore. The fee for this coverage will be paid by the government.
In the case of FPO, the credit guarantee can be availed of the facility created under the FPO promotion scheme of the Department of Agriculture, Farmers Co-operation and Welfare (DACFW).
The funds will be provided for the installation of cold rooms and chains, warehouses, silos, testing, grading and packaging units, electronic marketing points linked to electronic marketing platforms and ripening chambers, as well as PPP projects for crop aggregation sponsored by the central/state government. / local organizations.
The agricultural infrastructure fund, which will be managed and monitored through an online Management Information System (MIS) platform, will allow all qualified entities to apply for loans under the fund.
Under the PM-KISAN scheme, the government annually provides Rs 6,000 in three equal installments to Rs 14 million from farmers. The amount is transferred directly to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts through the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) mode.