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Business News/ News / India/  Cabinet approves scheme to boost grain storage capacity in cooperative sector: Report

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a scheme worth 1 trillion to increase foodgrain storage capacity by 700 lakh tonne in the cooperative sector, according to a PTI report.

The plan aims to converge various schemes of the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare, ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, and ministry of food processing industries.

Union minister Anurag Singh Thakur said presently, the grain storage capacity in the country is about 1,450 lakh tonne.In the next five years, the storage will expand to 2,150 lakh tonne.

“The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, today approved the constitution and empowerment of an Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) for facilitation of the ‘World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector‘," a PIB release said.

To ensure timely and uniform implementation of the plan in a professional manner, the ministry of cooperation will initiate a pilot project in at least 10 selected districts across different states and Union Territories. The pilot project will provide valuable insights into regional requirements, which will be incorporated into the nationwide implementation of the plan.

The panel, chaired by the minister of cooperation, will include the minister of agriculture and farmers welfare, minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, minister of food processing industries, and concerned secretaries as members.

The committee will modify guidelines and implementation methodologies of the schemes of the respective ministries as needed, within the approved outlays and prescribed goals, to facilitate the “World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector."

The plan focuses on creating infrastructure such as godowns for agriculture and allied purposes at viable Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS).

The plan will utilize the available funds provided under identified schemes of the respective ministries. These include the agriculture infrastructure fund (AIF), agricultural marketing infrastructure scheme (AMI), mission for integrated development of horticulture (MIDH), sub mission on agricultural mechanization (SMAM) from the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare, and the pradhan mantri formalization of micro food processing enterprises scheme (PMFME), pradhan mantri kisan sampada yojana (PMKSY) from the ministry of food processing industries.

Additionally, the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution’s allocation of food grains under the national food security act and procurement operations at minimum support price will also be part of the convergence.

The plan is multifaceted, addressing the shortage of agricultural storage infrastructure by establishing godowns at the PACS level. It will enable PACS to undertake various activities, including serving as procurement centers, fair price shops, custom hiring centers, and setting up common processing units. The decentralized storage capacity at the local level will reduce food grain wastage, strengthen food security, prevent distress sale of crops, and reduce transportation costs.

The implementation of the proposal will be carried out within a specified time frame. A national level coordination committee will be formed within one week of the cabinet approval, and implementation guidelines will be issued within 15 days. Additionally, a portal for the linkage of PACS with the government will be rolled out within 45 days, and the implementation of the plan will commence within the same timeframe.

The ministry of cooperation aims to transform primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) into successful and vibrant business enterprises. The plan’s focus on agri-infrastructure, such as warehouses and processing units at the PACS level, will strengthen food security, reduce wastage, and improve farmers‘ income. With over 1,00,000 PACS and more than 13 crore farmers as members, this initiative aims to leverage the role of PACS in transforming the agricultural and rural landscape of the Indian economy.

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Updated: 31 May 2023, 04:12 PM IST
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