PM reviews the agro sectors, MSMEs; talks about reforms, ways to make MSMEs vibrate

NEW DELHI: Amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed Saturday on ways to reform the agricultural sector and strengthen micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to make them more vibrant. He discussed ways of guaranteeing greater access by farmers to institutional credit and freeing the agricultural sector of various restrictions with the adequate backing of the laws.

Agriculture accounts for 15 percent of India's gross domestic product and is a source of livelihood for more than half of the country's 1.3 billion people.

The government has maintained that the country's agricultural sector works smoothly despite the Covid-19 blockade and that there will be little impact on its growth in the current tax system, unlike other sectors.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister chaired another meeting on strengthening the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) sector.

The meeting came amid demands for an aid package for the affected micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

He chaired a meeting on strengthening our, which plays a critical role in economic development, the prime minister wrote on Twitter.

There have been demands to provide a package for the MSME sector affected by the blockade.

There were extensive discussions on ways to make this sector more vibrant, attractive and ready to take advantage of new opportunities, Modi said.

The agriculture meeting also focused on making strategic interventions in the existing marketing ecosystem and carrying out appropriate reforms in the context of rapid agricultural development.

The flow of credit under favorable conditions to strengthen agricultural infrastructure, the special boost of the Kisan credit card saturation for PM-Kisan beneficiaries and the facilitation of inter and intra-state trade in agricultural products to guarantee a fairer return to Farmers were some of the other major areas covered, according to the statement.

The possibilities of a uniform legal framework in the country to facilitate new forms of agriculture that will infuse capital and technology in the agrarian economy were also discussed.

The challenges of the Model Agricultural Land Lease Act, 2016 and how to protect the interests of small and marginalized farmers were discussed in detail at the meeting attended by the Union Minister of the Interior, Amit Shah, the Minister of Agriculture , Narendra Singh Tomar, and the Minister of Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman.

Ways of making the Essential Commodities Act compatible with today's times to encourage large-scale private investment in post-production agricultural infrastructure, and how it has a positive effect on commodity derivatives markets were also discussed.

The use of technology in the agricultural sector was considered of utmost importance as it has the potential to unlock the entire value chain for the benefit of farmers.

He emphasized spreading the technology to the last mile and making farmers more competitive in the global value chain.

It was decided to further strengthen the role of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO) to give vitality to the agrarian economy, transparency in agricultural trade, and allow maximum benefits for farmers.

Emphasis was placed on reviewing existing laws governing the market for better price realization and freedom of choice for farmers, according to the statement. The growth of agriculture and the allied sector stood at 3.7% during the 2019-20 fiscal year.

The prime minister, since Thursday, has been reviewing various sectors, including defense, civil aviation, energy, education, work, and mines and minerals.