In a bid to boost farm income, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced plans for a dedicated train of refrigerated coaches and freighter flights for quick transport of agricultural produce to markets.
The Kisan Rail and Krishi Udan initiatives, announced in the Union Budget presented by Nirmala in Parliament, are part of government plans to build a national cold supply chain for perishables, including milk, meat and fish.
‘There shall be refrigerated coaches in Express and Freight trains as well,’ the finance minister said even as she announced 11% increase in the farm credit with a target of disbursing Rs 15 lakh crore in 2020-21.
The Kisan Rail will be set up by the Indian Railways through public-private-partnership arrangements.
Nirmala announced that the Civil Aviation Ministry would launch the Krishi Udan initiative on international as well as national routes to help states in the North-East and tribal districts to market their farm produce abroad.
‘The setting up of Kisan Rail for transportation of perishable goods is a great initiative that will increase the food item life/ health for transportation and in turn boost farmer’s income,’ Malini Saba, Founder and Chairman Saba Group Holdings, said.
Nirmala also rolled out plans for the development of marine fishery resources by involving youth from coastal regions in fish processing and marketing sectors.
The government also proposed to launch 500 Fish Farmers Producers Organisations (FFPO) on the lines of the Farmers’ Producers Organisations and set a target of Rs 1 lakh crore worth fishery exports by 2024-25.
To promote solar energy, the government proposed a scheme to enable farmers to set up solar power generation capacity on their fallow/barren lands and to sell it to the grid.
It also said that it would expand the PM-KUSUM scheme to provide 20 lakh farmers for setting up stand-alone solar pumps and also help another 15 lakh farmers solarise their grid-connected pump sets.