Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday formally launched the recently-announced ₹1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund by handing over ₹1,000 crore to 2,200 farmer societies through a remotely organised function, which was attended by farmers from all over the country.
Modi said that under the PM-KISAN scheme, cash benefits were transferred directly to the farmers without any intermediaries or middlemen.
PM Modi launched the fund through a video conference on the auspicious occasion of Balram Jayanthi. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and senior ministry officials were also present on the occasion.
On this occasion, the PM also released Rs 17,000 crore to almost 8.5 crore farmers under sixth instalment of the ongoing PM-Kisan scheme. "Many employment opportunities will get created in villages", Modi said after the launch.
He also mentioned that this scheme provides a good opportunity for start-ups in agriculture to avail the benefits and scale their operations, thereby creating an ecosystem that reaches farmers in every corner of the country. The fund will catalyse the creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets such as cold storage, collection centres, processing units. The scheme was launched in December previous year. The Fund will give a boost to farmer's earnings. Under the scheme, ₹1 lakh crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3 per cent per annum and credit guarantee coverage for loans up to ₹2 crore. Three percent subsidy on interest will also be provided to farmers on loan amounting to 2 crore or less up to seven years.
Moratorium for repayment under this financing facility may vary, subject to a minimum of six months and maximum of two years. "The scheme has also been instrumental in supporting farmers during the Covid-19 pandemic, through the release of almost ₹22,000 Crore to aid the farmers during the lockdown period", the government said.
Apart from enabling them to fulfil their agricultural requirements, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana has also been instrumental in supporting farmers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Union Cabinet has approved the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under "Agriculture Infrastructure Fund" of Rs 1 lakh crore.