World's Largest Grain Storage Plan [UPSC Current Affairs]

Recently the Union Cabinet approved the formation and empowerment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to formulate the world’s largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector. This topic is relevant for the IAS exam GS-3 segment.

World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan

The worldโ€™s largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector will be created by converging eight schemes at present in three different ministries.ย 

  • The eight schemes that have been selected for convergence are:

ย  ย  ย  ย  ย (a) Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare:

  1. Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF),
  2. Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure Scheme (AMI),
  3. Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH),
  4. Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)

ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  (b) Ministry of Food Processing Industries:

  1. Pradhan Mantri Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises ย  Scheme (PMFME),
  2. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)

ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย (c) Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution:

  1. Allocation of food grains under the National Food Security Act,
  2. Procurement operations at Minimum Support Price
  • The outlay of the plan is around one lakh crore and the pilot project will be implemented in 10 districts initially by the Ministry of Cooperation.
  • Initially, the pilot project is implemented in 10 districts in order to ensure the time-bound and professional implementation of the plan.

Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC)

  • The Inter-Ministerial committee will be chaired by the Minister of Cooperation and the members include ministers of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Food Processing Industries, and secretaries who will modify guidelines and implement methodologies of schemes of respective ministries according to the need.ย ย 
  • The plan will involve creating infrastructure for agriculture and allied services at viable Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS).

Need for the Plan:

  • The objective of the multi-pronged plan is, apart from addressing the shortage of agricultural infrastructure such as godowns in primary agriculture credit society (PACS) the plan also has the objective of enabling the primary agriculture credit society to undertake other activities such as:
    • 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.
  • The creation of a decentralized local storage system will help in avoiding the wastage of food grains and also strengthen food security.
  • Will also help to avoid the distress sale by the farmers and also enable the price Discovery
  • Reduce the transportation cost involved in transporting food grains from procurement centres and fair-price shops.
  • The plan will also strengthen the role of the primary agriculture credit society and also diversify the business activities which will improve the income of farmers.

Budgetary Allocation and Scheme Convergence:

  • While the plan does not have a separate budgetary allocation, it will be implemented through the convergence of the above-mentioned eight existing schemes.ย 
  • These schemes encompass agricultural infrastructure, marketing, horticulture development, agricultural mechanization, food processing, and food distribution.

Grain Storage Plan Benefits

The grain storage plan offers multiple advantages:

  • Reduction in Post-harvest Losses: Improved storage facilities will help minimize losses that occur after harvest, preserving the quality and quantity of food grains.
  • Cost-effective Handling and Transportation: Efficient storage infrastructure will lower handling and transportation costs associated with food grain distribution, making the supply chain more economical.
  • Empowering Farmers: Farmers will have the freedom to sell their produce at opportune times based on market conditions, reducing instances of distress sales and ensuring fair returns.

Integrated Facility Structure:

  • The integrated modular PACS will be built on around 1 acre of land and will consist of various facilities.ย 
  • These include a custom hiring centre, a multi-purpose hall, procurement centres, primary processing units, storage sheds, and container storage and silos.ย 
  • Each PACS will have the capacity to store 1,000 metric tonnes of grain, while certain selected PACS will serve as hubs with a larger capacity of 2,000 metric tonnes.

Additional Services:

  • As part of the plan, PACS that participate will have the opportunity to offer various services.ย 
  • These include procurement services for state agencies and the Food Corporation of India (FCI), acting as fair price shops, establishing custom hiring centres, and setting up common processing units for agricultural produce.

Conclusion:

  • The establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the world’s largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector marks a significant step toward enhancing India’s food security.ย 
  • By leveraging the extensive network of primary agricultural credit societies, the plan aims to bridge the gap between farm produce and consumer demand, ensuring a stable and efficient food supply chain.

World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan [UPSC Current Affairs]:- Download PDF Here

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