Union Cabinet decision via PIB:
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” by 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.
In order to ensure time bound and uniform implementation of the Plan in a professional manner, Ministry of Cooperation will implement a pilot project in at least 10 selected Districts of different States/ UTs in the country. 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.
An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) will be constituted under the Chairmanship of Minister of Cooperation, with 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/ implementation methodologies of the schemes of the respective Ministries as and when need arises, within the approved outlays and prescribed goals, for facilitation of the ‘World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector’ by creation of infrastructure such as godowns, etc. 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. Following schemes have been identified for convergence under the Plan:
(a) Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare:
- Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF),
- Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure Scheme (AMI),
- Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH),
- Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)
(b) Ministry of Food Processing Industries:
- Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme (PMFME),
- Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)
(c) Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution:
- Allocation of food grains under the National Food Security Act,
- Procurement operations at Minimum Support Price
Benefits of the Plan
- The plan is multi-pronged – it aims to address not just the shortage of agricultural storage infrastructure in the country by facilitating establishment of godowns at the level of PACS, but would also enable PACS to undertake various other activities, viz:
- Functioning as Procurement centres for State Agencies/ Food Corporation of India (FCI);
- Serving as Fair Price Shops (FPS);
- Setting up custom hiring centers;
- Setting up common processing units, including assaying, sorting, grading units for agricultural produce, etc.
- Further, creation of decentralized storage capacity at the local level would reduce food grain wastage and strengthening food security of the country.
- By providing various options to the farmers, it would prevent distress sale of crops, thus enabling the farmers to realise better prices for their produce.
- It would hugely reduce the cost incurred in transportation of food grains to procurement centres and again transporting the stocks back from warehouses to FPS.
- Through ‘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.
Time-frame and manner of implementation
- National Level Coordination Committee will be formed within one week of the Cabinet approval.
- Implementation guidelines will be issued within 15 days of the Cabinet approval.
- A portal for the linkage of PACS with Govt. of India and State Governments will be rolled out within 45 days of the Cabinet approval.
- Implementation of proposal will start within 45 days of the Cabinet approval.
The Prime Minister of India has observed that all out efforts should be made to leverage the strength of the cooperatives and transform them into successful and vibrant business enterprises to realize the vision of “Sahakar-se-Samriddhi”. To take this vision forward, the Ministry of Cooperation has brought out the ‘World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector’. The plan entails setting up various types of agri-infrastructure, including warehouse, custom hiring center, processing units, etc. at the level of PACS, thus transforming them into multipurpose societies. Creation and modernization of infrastructure at the level of PACS will reduce food grain wastage by creating sufficient storage capacity, strengthen food security of the country and enable farmers to realise better prices for their crops.
There are more than 1,00,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) in the country with a huge member base of more than 13 crore farmers. In view of the important role played by PACS at the grass root level in transforming the agricultural and rural landscape of Indian economy and to leverage their deep reach up to the last mile, this initiative has been undertaken to set up decentralized storage capacity at the level of PACS along with other agri infrastructure, which would not only strengthen the food security of the country, but would also enable PACS to transform themselves into vibrant economic entities.