Govt Cuts Warehouse Charges To Help Farmers


(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Union Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said that the agriculture sector will be the foundational pillar spearheading the nation towards becoming 'Viksit Bharat' by 2047.

Speaking at the launch of 'e-Kisan Upaj Nidhi' (Digital Gateway) of the Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) here, the minister announced that the security deposit charges at WDRA registered warehouses will soon be reduced to encourage more farmers, especially small farmers, to utilise the warehouses and enhance their income. He said that the farmers stocking their produce at these warehouses would need to pay only 1 per cent security deposit instead of the 3 per cent earlier.

Goyal thanked the farmers for securing the lives of millions of Indians and said that the 'e-Kisan Upaj Nidhi' initiative with the help of technology will ease warehousing logistics for farmers and help them in receiving fair prices for their produce.

He pointed out that 'e-Kisan Upaj Nidhi' can prevent distress sale by farmers who often have to sell their entire harvest at cheaper rates due to poor post-harvest storage opportunities.

The minister said that the warehouses under WDRA are well-monitored, highly-rated, and are equipped with infrastructure that will protect farm produce and lead to farmers' welfare. He pressed for mandatory registration of warehouses utilised by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) across the states under WDRA and preparation of a roadmap for state warehouses to be infrastructure-ready.

Elaborating on the ''e-Kisan Upaj Nidhi' platform, Goyal said that the initiative with its simplified digital process can ease the procedure of farmers' storage at any registered WDRA warehouse for a period of 6 months at 7 per cent interest per annum. The Minister hailed the WDRA initiative of providing an online platform for warehouse registration that has seen significant increase year-on-year and set a target of 1 lakh warehouses to be registered on the portal. He noted that last year, 1,500 warehouses were registered.

The minister emphasised that with the 'e-Kisan Upaj Nidhi' and e-NAM, farmers will be able to utilise the technology of an interconnected market which benefits them above and beyond selling their produce to the government at Minimum Support Price (MSP). He said that the government's procurement through MSPs has increased 2.5 times over the last decade.

While speaking about the launch of the world's largest cooperative food grain storage scheme, the minister urged the WDRA to draw up a proposal to provide free registration of all the warehouses under the cooperative sector. He said that the initiative to aid cooperative sector warehouses will further boost farmers to stock their produce in WDRA facilities leading them to get fair price on selling their harvest.

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