Cabinet approves modifications in the central scheme under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

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New Delhi: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday, 8th of July, said that APMC mandis will now be eligible to avail financial support from the Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund to expand the capacity of the regulated market and provide better facilities to farmers.

Tomar also asserted that the decision to further strengthen the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) allays protesting farmers fear that these mandis will be scrapped with the implementation of three controversial agricultural laws. This modification in the Central Scheme was approved in the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

For APMCs, interest subvention for a Loan up to 2 crores will be for each project of different infrastructure types e.g cold storage, sorting, grading, and assaying units, silos, et within the same market yard.

 At present Interest subvention for a loan up to Rs. 2 crore in one location is eligible under the scheme. In case, one eligible entity puts up projects in different locations then all such projects will now be eligible for interest subvention for loans up to Rs. 2 crores. However, for a private sector entity, there will be a limit of a maximum of 25  such projects. This limitation of 25 projects will not be applicable to state agencies, national and state federations of cooperatives, federations of FPOs, and federation of SHGs. Location will mean the physical boundary of a village or town having a distinct LGD (Local Government Directory) code. Each of such projects should be in a location having a separate LGD code.

Tomar said not only APMCs, the financial facility under this fund has been extended to state agencies, national and state federations, farmer producer organizations(FPOs) as well as the federation of self-help groups (SHGs). Individual, organizations, cooperatives, FPOs, and Agri startups and farmers organizations were eligible to avail subvention of 3 per cent per annum for loans up to Rs 2 crore.

Under the AIF, a medium to long-term debt financing facility is provided for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and financial support.

The modifications in the Scheme will help to achieve a multiplier effect in generating investments while ensuring that the benefits reach small and marginal farmers.  APMC markets are set up to provide market linkages and create an ecosystem of post-harvest public infrastructure open to all farmers