Sheikh Mudasir Amin
The much required special economic and comprehensive package of Rs 20 Lakh Crore during Covid19 crisis- equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP announced by the Prime Minister of India and its detailed aspects given by the Finance Minister of India is a clarion call for Self-Reliant India Movement. The outlining of its five pillars makes it more streamlined and healthy even when compared to the best economies of South Asian and European Nations. And, according to Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairperson, NITI Aayog, the stimulus package is two faceted, first it will ensure that human cost of the crisis is minimized specially for those at the bottom of the pyramid, and second, it will convert this crisis into an opportunity by implementing bold structural reforms that will go beyond repairing the damage to the production capacities and enhance the overall supply response capabilities of the economy. Both these aspects have a single role to play, to revive the Indian Economy and make it more vibrant competitively.
After its announcement, the economists, the United Nations and the leading economic organizations of the world have hailed it as being impressive and being the largest economic package so far by the developing countries. While launching the World Economic Situation and Prospect (WESP) report update during this month, Chief of the Global Economic Monitoring Branch, Hamid Rashid told reporters in response to a question that the stimulus package announced by the Indian government “is a very welcome development.”
He praised it for being ‘largest so far among the developing countries which have been rolling out stimulus packages only between 0.5 per cent and 1 per cent of the GDP and said that India has the domestic financial market and the large capacity to implement this large stimulus package.
Associate Economic Affairs Officer, Economic Analysis and Policy Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (EAPD/UNDESA), Julian Slotman said that the size of India’s stimulus package is “impressive” and of a magnitude that will help to reassure markets and to boost domestic consumption.
The eleven measures suggested in the third tranche of the economic stimulus package shall strengthen Infrastructure Logistics, Capacity Building, Governance and Administrative Reforms in the field of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Processing Sectors. Eight measures in the stimulus package are for improving agricultural Infrastructure and three measures are for Administrative and Governance reforms, including removing restrictions on sale and stock limits of farm produce.
Third Tranche of Measures will revive the rural economy:
The financing facility of Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided for funding Agriculture Infrastructure Projects at Farm-gate & Aggregation Points (Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies, Farmers Producer Organizations, Agriculture entrepreneurs, Start-ups, etc.) with an impetus for the development of Farm-gate & Aggregation Points and make affordable and financially viable Post Harvest Management infrastructure. Making Farm-gate and Aggregation Points developed would be a game changer for the Agriculture sector in India.
Rs 10,000 Crore scheme for formalization of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE) reflecting the vision of the Prime Minister of India, ‘Vocal for Local with Global outreach’ will technically upgrade 2 Lakh MFEs to attain FSSAI food standards, build brands and marketing.
Rs 20,000 Crore for fisherman through Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) will lead to additional Fish Production of 70 lakh tones over 5 years and will provide employment to over 55 lakh persons and will also double the exports to Rs 1,00,000 Crore.
Setting up of the ‘Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund’ of Rs. 15,000 Crore as announced will support private investment in Dairy Processing, Value addition and Cattle Feed Infrastructure. It will again provide employment to thousands in India and will boost the Dairy Processing industry.
The promotion of Herbal Cultivation with an outlay of Rs. 4,000 Crore will lead to Rs. 5,000 Crore income generation for farmers and will create a network of Regional Mandis for Medicinal Plants. The beekeeping initiative with an outlay of Rs 500 Crore for infrastructure development, marketing etc will lead to increase in income of 2 Lakh Beekeepers and will provide quality honey to consumers.
With Rs 500 Crore outlay (From TOP to TOTAL) and ‘Operation Greens’ extended to all fruits and vegetables will lead to better price realization to farmers, reduce wastages and make products affordable for consumers. The Governance and Administrative Reforms for Agriculture Sector announced in the third tranche like Amendments to Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realization for farmers and a central law with be formulated to provide adequate choices to the farmers to sell their produce at remunerative price, barrier free interstate trade etc.
The Government will finalize and facilitative legal framework to enable farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters etc. in a fair and transparent manner. Risk mitigation for farmers, assured returns and quality standardization shall also form integral part of the framework.
(The author is Media and Communication Officer, PIB, Jammu.)
Sheikh Mudasir Amin