Third tranche of the economic aid package to focus on the agricultural sector: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

NEW DELHI: The finance minister said on Friday that the third economic tranche will seek to provide aid to agriculture and allied industries.

Speaking to the media, he said the package would focus on infrastructure and capacity development in agriculture and allied activities.

She said that in the past two months various measures have been taken to support farmers, including purchases of minimum support prices (MSP) of Rs 73,300 crore during the two-month period.

In addition, Rs 18.7 billion has been made in cash as part of the transfers from the PM Kisan Fund and Rs 6.4 billion has been made for crop insurance.

Sitharaman said that during the closure period, the cooperatives purchased 560 lakh liters per day of milk against the daily sale of 360 lakh liters per day.

He purchased a total of Rs 111 million additional to guarantee the payment of Rs 4,100 million, he said, adding that a new scheme has been implemented to provide a 2% annual interest grant to the dairy cooperative.

The interest grant will unlock additional liquidity of Rs 5 billion, benefiting 2 producers of Rs million.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Earlier this week, a cumulative package of Rs 20 lakh crore (nearly 10 percent of GDP) was announced to provide relief to various segments of the economy hit by the blockade.

This included a 1.7 rupee lakh crore rupee package that included free food grains and cash for the poor for three months announced in March, and a 5.6 rupee lakh crore rupee stimulus provided through various monetary policy measures by Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

Of the rest, the government It has made two tranches of announcements with a cumulative package of Rs 9.1 lakh crore, comprising mainly lines of credit to smaller companies, concessional credit to farmers and support to shadow banking and electricity distributors.

Most of the first two tranches of the package are off-budget and the government cash outgo is limited to just Rs 16,500 crore on free foodgrain and affordable housing to migrant workers as well as limited tax relief and marginal dole to some companies on employee retrial benefits.

India had - beginning March 25 - imposed a three-week-long nationwide lockdown, the most far-reaching measure undertaken by any government to curb the spread of the pandemic.

The blockade, which halted most economic activity as factories and companies closed while leaving thousands temporarily unemployed, has been extended twice until May 17, with some relaxations to allow resumption of economic activity. .

According to estimates, the blockade could have caused 12.2 million crore to lose jobs in April and consumer demand to evaporate.

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