The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, under the guidance of Manoj Ahuja, the Agriculture Secretary, has unveiled a new initiative called BHARAT (Banks Heralding Accelerated Rural & Agriculture Transformation) as part of the Agri Infra Fund. With a target of raising 7200 crore, this month-long campaign will run from July 15th to August 15th, 2023. The launch event, held via video conferencing, saw active participation from over 100 banking officials, including MDs/Chairman, EDs, and representatives from Regional Rural Banks, Small Finance Banks, NBFCs, and select Co-operative Banks.
Progress of Agri-Infra Fund Scheme:
During the launch event, Samuel Praveen Kumar, the Joint Secretary of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), shed light on the remarkable progress achieved through the Agri-Infra Fund scheme. This scheme has facilitated the completion of more than 31,850 agricultural infrastructure projects across the country, amounting to a loan disbursement of 24,750 crore. With a total outlay of Rs. 42,000, the scheme has significantly contributed to enhancing the nation’s agricultural infrastructure.
Key Suggestions and Recognitions:
Participating bank executives shared valuable suggestions to further strengthen the Agri-Infra Fund scheme. Manoj Ahuja expressed his appreciation for the top-performing banks in various categories, acknowledging their commendable efforts in driving the scheme’s success. He urged all banks to strive towards achieving the set targets, recognizing the vast potential for agricultural infrastructure projects in the country. The Ministry also emphasized the importance of conducting ground-level assessments to evaluate the impact of projects initiated under the scheme.
About the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund:
Approved by the Union Cabinet in 2020, the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is designed to provide medium to long-term debt financing facilities for viable projects related to post-harvest management infrastructure and community farm assets. It offers interest subvention and financial assistance to eligible beneficiaries. The scheme has a duration of ten years, spanning from FY2020 to FY2032.
Benefits of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund:
- Interest Subvention: The scheme offers an interest subvention of 3% on loans up to Rs. 2 crore for a maximum period of seven years, making agricultural financing more accessible and affordable.
- Credit Guarantee Coverage: Eligible borrowers can avail credit guarantee coverage through the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises Scheme (CGTMSE) for loans up to Rs. 2 crore, with the government covering the associated fees.
- FPO Support: Farmers Producer Organizations (FPOs) can benefit from credit guarantee coverage under the FPO Promotion Scheme of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmers Welfare (DACFW).
- Repayment Moratorium: The repayment moratorium period for this financial facility is flexible, ranging from a minimum of six months to a maximum of two years, providing relief to borrowers.
The launch of the BHARAT campaign by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare signifies a significant step towards bolstering the Agri Infra Fund. By setting ambitious fundraising goals and leveraging the benefits of the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, this campaign aims to accelerate rural and agricultural transformation in India. It seeks to improve post-harvest management infrastructure, develop community farm assets, and propel overall agricultural growth nationwide.
- 3 August Current Affairs 2023 in English
- MoU Between Subroto Mukerjee Sports and Education Society and All India Football Federation (AIFF) to Promote Football at Grassroot Level
- Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya Delivers Keynote Address at the 13th Indian Organ Donation Day ceremony
- Education Ministry Forms Expert Panel on Anti-Discrimination in Higher Education
- Concerns Arise Over Cheetah Deaths at Kuno National Park
BHARAT Campaign – FAQs
Q1: What is the BHARAT campaign launched by the Ministry of Agriculture?
Ans: The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare introduced the BHARAT campaign as a project for the Agri Infra Fund. By generating money and promoting agricultural infrastructure projects, it seeks to hasten rural and agricultural change.
Q2: What is the Agri-Infra Fund scheme, and what progress has been made under it?
Ans: A government-approved programme called the Agri-Infra Fund scheme offers medium- to long-term debt funding for workable projects involving post-harvest infrastructure and community agricultural assets. With a loan amount of 24,750 crore, over 31,850 agricultural infrastructure projects have been completed nationwide under this programme.
Q3: How can banks contribute to the success of the Agri-Infra Fund scheme?
Ans: By taking part in the BHARAT campaign, offering financial support, and carrying out agricultural infrastructure projects, banks can help the Agri-Infra Fund plan succeed. They are urged to meet the campaign goals and make recommendations to improve the program’s effectiveness. Additionally, banks are urged to evaluate how the projects developed under the programme would affect the local community.