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Cabinet Approves Inter-Ministerial Committee for World''s Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector

Cabinet Approves Inter-Ministerial Committee for World's Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector

 The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the establishment and empowerment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to facilitate the implementation of the "World's Largest Grain Storage Plan in Cooperative Sector." This plan aims to converge various schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and Ministry of Food Processing Industries.

To ensure timely and uniform implementation of the plan in a professional manner, the Ministry of Cooperation will carry out a pilot project in at least 10 selected districts across different states and union territories. This pilot project will provide valuable insights into regional requirements and inform the nationwide implementation of the plan.

The IMC, chaired by the Minister of Cooperation and comprising the Ministers of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and Food Processing Industries, along with relevant secretaries, will modify guidelines and implementation methodologies as needed. Their objective is to facilitate the creation of infrastructure, such as warehouses, at viable Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), for agriculture and allied purposes.

The plan will utilize the available funding allocated to the identified schemes of the respective ministries. The following schemes have been identified for convergence under the plan: Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure Scheme (AMI), Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM), 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, and procurement operations at Minimum Support Price.

The plan has several benefits. It aims to address the shortage of agricultural storage infrastructure by establishing godowns at the PACS level. It also enables PACS to undertake various activities, such as functioning as procurement centers, fair price shops, custom hiring centers, and common processing units. Decentralized storage capacity at the local level will reduce food grain wastage and strengthen food security. The plan provides farmers with options, preventing distress sales and enabling them to obtain better prices for their produce. It also reduces transportation costs for food grains and enhances the incomes of farmer members by diversifying PACS' business activities.

The implementation process includes the formation of a National Level Coordination Committee, issuance of implementation guidelines, and the launch of a portal to link PACS with the government within specific timeframes. The Ministry of Cooperation has introduced this plan to leverage the strength of cooperatives and transform them into successful business enterprises, supporting the vision of "Sahakar-se-Samriddhi" (prosperity through cooperation). By establishing various types of agri-infrastructure at the PACS level, the plan aims to reduce food grain wastage, strengthen food security, and empower PACS to become vibrant economic entities.

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