Context: Recently the Centre has decided to allow state-run market yards to access financing facilities through its Agricultural Infrastructure Fund.
- Eligibility Extended:
- The Union Cabinet decided to extend the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund to:
- State agencies and Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs).
- Federations of cooperative organisations,
- Farmers Producers Organizations and
- Self-help groups.
- At present Interest subvention for a loan upto Rs. 2 crore in one location is eligible under the scheme.
- In case, one eligible entity puts up projects in different locations then all such projects will now be eligible for interest subvention for loans upto Rs. 2 crores.
- However, for a private sector entity, there will be a limit of a maximum of 25 such projects.
- This limitation of 25 projects will not be applicable to state agencies, national and state federations of cooperatives, federations of FPOs and federation of SHGs.
- Location will mean the physical boundary of a village or town having a distinct LGD (Local Government Directory) code.
- Each of such projects should be in a location having a separate LGD code.
- For APMCs, interest subvention for a loan upto Rs. 2 crores will be provided for each project of different infrastructure types.
- E.g. cold storage, sorting, grading and assaying units, silos, et within the same market yard.
- The power has been delegated to the Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare to make necessary changes with regard to the addition or deletion of the beneficiary in such a manner so that the basic spirit of the scheme is not altered.
- The period of the financial facility has been extended from 4 to 6 years upto 2025-26 and the overall period of the scheme has been extended from 10 to 13 upto 2032-33.
Impact of the modifications:
- The modifications in the Scheme will help to achieve a multiplier effect in generating investments while ensuring that the benefits reach small and marginal farmers.
- The APMC markets are set up to provide market linkages and create an ecosystem of post-harvest public infrastructure open to all farmers.
- The Rs 1-lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund was provisioned under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat package in the Budget, and APMCs will be able to use that now to increase their resources
Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF):
- The fund has been launched in the Union budget of 2020-21 as part of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) to make farmers self-reliant.
- It is a Central Sector Scheme.
- The scheme shall provide a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support.
- The duration of the Scheme shall be from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years).
- Under the scheme, Rs. One Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans to:
- Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS),
- Marketing Cooperative Societies,
- Farmer producer organisations (FPOs),
- Farmers, Joint Liability Groups (JLG),
- Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Startups etc.
- All loans under this financing facility will have an interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crores. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of seven years.
- It will be managed and monitored through an online Management Information System (MIS) platform.