Wed, 27 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], May 31 (ANI): In order to ensure time-bound and uniform implementation of the "World's Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector" the Ministry of Cooperation will implement a pilot project in at least 10 selected districts of different states and Union Territories in the country, an official statement said on Wednesday.

Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the constitution and empowerment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for facilitation of the "World's Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector" by the convergence of various schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Ministry of Food Processing Industries.

The pilot would provide valuable insights into the various regional requirements of the project, the learnings from which will be suitably incorporated for the country-wide implementation of the plan.

The IMC will be constituted under the chairmanship of the Minister of Cooperation, with the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Minister of Food Processing Industries and Secretaries concerned as members to modify guidelines and implementation methodologies of the schemes of the respective Ministries as and when the need arises, within the approved outlays and prescribed goals, for facilitation of the 'World's Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector' by the creation of infrastructure such as godowns for Agriculture and Allied purposes, at selected 'viable' Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS).

The plan would be implemented by utilizing the available outlays provided under the identified schemes of the respective Ministries.

Schemes like the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure Scheme (AMI), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), and Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) have been identified for convergence under the plan.

Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme (PMFME), Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY), Allocation of food grains under the National Food Security Act, Procurement operations at Minimum Support Price are among other schemes identified for convergence under the plan.

The plan is multi-pronged and it aims to address not just the shortage of agricultural storage infrastructure in the country by facilitating the establishment of godowns at the level of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), but would also enable PACS to undertake various other activities like functioning as Procurement centres for State Agencies/ Food Corporation of India (FCI); serving as Fair Price Shops (FPS); setting up custom hiring centres; setting up common processing units, including assaying, sorting, grading units for agricultural produce.

The plan would also help PACS in undertaking activities like the creation of decentralized storage capacity at the local level which would reduce food grain wastage and strengthen the food security of the country.

Providing various options to the farmers, it would prevent the distressed sale of crops, thus enabling the farmers to realise better prices for their produce.

It would hugely reduce the cost incurred in the transportation of food grains to procurement centres and again transporting the stocks back from warehouses to FPS.

Through a 'whole-of-Government' approach, the plan would strengthen PACS by enabling them to diversify their business activities, thus enhancing the incomes of the farmer members as well. (ANI)

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