Essential Commodities Act will be amended: Sitharaman

Sitharaman3NEW DELHI :  Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam announced that the Centre has decided to amend Essential Commodities Act 1995 in order to support the agricultural industry which was worst-hit during corona induced lockdown.
In a press conference held on Friday ,She said that the reforms focus on enabling better price realization for farmers. Co-joined by by the MoS Anurag Thaku, Sitharaman said “Government will amend Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers.
Apart from this development, Finance Ministry announced several measures to support agriculture and allied activities, including fisheries which were badly hit by corona induced lockdown. Union minister revealed 11 measures, of which 8 focus on strengthening infrastructures, logistics, storage and the rest 3 relate to govt and administrative reforms.
While interacting with the media, Minister announced a fund of Rs 10,000 Crore allotted for the formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE). To help Fisheries sector, Centre relaxes operations of Marine Capture Fisheries and Aquaculture to cover Inland Fisheries.
In addition to this, a new scheme was introduced to give lower interest to dairy cooperatives. The interest subvention scheme will continue and will put additional Rs 5,000 crore in hands of 2 crore farmers.
Cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato will be deregulated and stock limits will be imposed under exceptional circumstances, Ms Sitharaman said.
The government will also bring in law to implement agriculture marketing reforms to provide marketing choices to farmers. Farmers will have the choice to sell produce anywhere at an attractive price.
She said during the lockdown period the minimum support price (MSP) purchases of amount more than Rs 74,300 crore were made as part of additional steps for agriculture during the period. Funds transfer worth Rs 18,700 crore has been done under PM KISAN and PM Fasal Bima Yojana claims worth Rs 6,400 crore released in the past two months, she said.
A new scheme has been launched for interest subvention at the rate of 2% per annum to dairy cooperatives for 2020-21 aimed at unlocking Rs 5,000 crore additional liquidity, benefitting two crore farmers, she said.
“I will announce 11 measures and eight of them relate to strengthening infrastructure, strengthening capacity, building better logistics…. The rest three of the 11 will pertain to governance and administrative reforms,” she said in her third press briefing in as many days.
Sitharaman has been announcing the details of the Rs 20 lakh crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, vowing to make the country ‘atmanirbhar’ or self-reliant.
The government has so far made two tranches of announcements with a cumulative package of Rs 9.1 lakh crore, comprising largely of credit lines to smaller firms, concessional credit to farmers and support to shadow banking and electricity distributors.
(With Agency Inputs).



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