Prelims level : Agriculture, Ignorance, Subsidy, Marketing Mains level : GS-III Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and Employment
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Why in News?

  • In the third tranche of the COVID-19 economic package, the government announced a slew of measures for agriculture sector, including a ₹63 lakh crore outlay.

About the News:

  • It also amended the stringent Essential Commodities Act to remove cereals, edible oil, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato from its purview.
  • The package would focus on infrastructure and building capacities in the agriculture and allied activities.
  • The interest subvention will unlock ₹5,000 crore additional liquidity, benefitting 2 crore farmers.
  • This also included ₹7 lakh crore package comprising free food grain and cash to poor for three months announced in March, and ₹5.6 lakh crore stimulus provided through various monetary policy measures by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • Of the remaining, the government has made two tranches of announcements with a cumulative package of ₹1 lakh crore, comprising largely of credit lines to smaller firms, concessional credit to farmers and support to shadow banking and electricity distributors.

Regulating Essential Commodities:

  • The government will amend the six-and-a-half-decade old Essential Commodities Act to deregulate food items, including cereals, edible oil, oilseeds, pulses, onion and potato.
  • The amendment, besides deregulating production and sale of food products, will provide for no stock limit to be imposed on any produce.
  • A stock limit will be imposed only under very exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famine with a surge in prices.
  • Also, no stock limit shall apply to processors or value chain participants.

Other Important Announcements:

  • ₹15,000 crore Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund will be set up to support investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.
  • To ensure 100 per cent vaccination of all livestock against foot and mouth disease (FMD) ₹13,343 crore will be provided, she said.
  • As much as ₹10,000 crore will be provided for fishermen through Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
  • For promoting herbal cultivation, ₹4,000 crore National Medicinal Plants Fund will be started to help 10 lakh hectares to be covered under herbal cultivation.
  • Also, Operation Greens will be extended from tomato, onion and potato to all fruit and vegetables by providing 50 per cent subsidy on transportation and storage of these commodities.
  • For beekeepers, a ₹500-crore scheme was announced for infrastructure development and post-harvest facilities.
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