India announces $22 billion package for farm sectorChristian Fernsby ▼ | May 16, 2020
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced 11 measures worth 163,343 crore Indian Rupees ($21.8 billion) to support the agriculture and allied activities like fisheries, dairy farming, milk production, animal husbandry and food processing.
Farms India pigs
Friday's measures were the third tranche of announcements out of the stimulus package worth 267 billion U.S. dollars as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 12 to make India "self-reliant".
Among the 11 measures were three measures related to governance and agri-reforms, including amending the Essential Commodities Act, bringing in a new Central Law to help inter-state trading and sale of farm produce by farmers themselves, and making a new Legal Framework enabling farmers to ensure certainty of procurement of their products even before the sowing season begins.
The biggest announcement of 100,000 crore Indian Rupees (13.3 billion U.S. dollars) were related to strengthening the agriculture infrastructure, like building new cold storages, warehouses for post-harvest preservation of farm produce.
A sum of 20,000 crore Indian Rupees (around 2.7 billion U.S. dollars) was allocated for strengthening the fisheries sector, while a sum of 13,343 crore Indian Rupees (1.8 billion U.S. dollars) was allocated for the animal husbandry sector.
Besides, an amount of 15,000 crore Indian Rupees (2 billion U.S. dollars) was kept aside for strengthening the dairy infrastructure, 4000 crore Indian Rupees (533 million U.S. dollars) for herbal and organic cultivation.
The stimulus package is aimed at extending support to various sectors that were adversely affected during the lockdown imposed in the country on March 25 to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first tranche, announced on Wednesday, was related to supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) while the second trance announced on Thursday was aimed at supporting poor, migrant laborers and farmers.
The finance minister has been announcing measures and allocation of funds for different sectors on a daily basis. Such announcements are likely to continue for a few days, as many sectors like tourism and hospitality, heavy machinery and auto sector are awaiting similar stimulus to push-start businesses after the lockdown. ■