Context: The Union Cabinet took several landmark decisions, which will go a long way providing a much needed boost to infrastructure across sectors, which are crucial in the time of pandemic.

Landmark decisions include:

  1. Setting up of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development(AHIDF)
  •  Background: 
    • In pursuance of the recently announced Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan stimulus package, Cabinet approved setting up of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) amounting to Rs. 15000 crore.
    • Government had earlier approved the Dairy Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) worth Rs. 10,000 crores for incentivizing investment by the cooperative sector for development of dairy infrastructure. 
    • However, the MSMEs and Private companies also need to be promoted and incentivized for their participation in processing and value addition infrastructure in the animal husbandry sector. 
  • About AHIDF:
    • The eligible beneficiaries under the Scheme would be Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), MSMEs, Private Companies and individual entrepreneurs with only 10% margin money contribution by them, balance 90% would be the loan component to be made available to them by scheduled banks.
    • Interest subvention: The Government of India will provide 3% interest subvention to eligible beneficiaries. 
    • There will be a 2 years moratorium period for repayment of loan with 6 years repayment period thereafter. 
    • A credit guarantee fund: Government of India would also set up a Credit Guarantee Fund of Rs. 750 crore to be managed by NABARD. 
      • It would provide credit guarantee to the projects which are covered under the MSME defined ceilings. 
      • Guarantee Coverage would be upto 25% of the Credit facility of the borrower.
  • Benefits:
    • The AHIDF approved today would incentive infrastructure investments in dairy, meat processing and animal feed plants. 
    • Direct impact on farmer’s income: Since almost 50-60% of the final value of dairy output in India flows back to farmers, the growth in this sector can have a significant direct impact on farmer’s income. 
      • Will motivate farmers to invest more on inputs thereby driving higher productivity leading to increase in farmers income. 
    • Livelihood creation: The measures approved today through AHIDF would also help in direct and indirect livelihood creation for about 35 lakh persons.
  1. Declaration of Kushinagar Airport in UP as International Airport
  • Background: 
    • Kushinagar is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, where Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. 
    • It is regarded as a very sacred Buddhist pilgrimage centre where Buddhists pilgrims from all over the world come for pilgrimage. 
  • Benefits:
    • The Buddhist Circuit is a key pilgrimage destination for 530 million practicing Buddhists across the globe. 
      • Hence declaration of Kushinagar Airport as an 'International Airport' will offer improved connectivity, wider choice of services at competitive costs to the air-travellers
      • This would  boost domestic/international tourism and economic development of the region.
    • The international airport is expected to boost the already growing tourism and hospitality ecosystem in the country.
  1. Additional investment by OVL towards further development of Shwe oil & gas project in Myanmar approved
  • Background: 
    • ONGC Videsh (OVL) has been associated with exploration and development of Shwe gas project in Myanmar since 2002, as part of a consortium of companies from South Korea, India and Myanmar. 
    • The Indian PSU, GAIL, is a co-investor in this project. OVL. 
  • Benefits:
    • Promote India’s Act East Policy: The participation of Indian PSUs in oil & gas exploration and development projects in neighbouring countries is aligned with India’s Act East Policy.
    • It is also part of India’s strategy to develop Energy Bridges with its neighbours in addition to further strengthening India’s energy security needs.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1633893

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