11 May 2016 Current Affairs: Gujarat government has announced its 'Agri Business Policy-2016' with a special emphasis on promoting food processing industry, applying new techniques to convert agriculture waste into value-added products and developing the entire value chain of exporting locally grown farm produces.
The new policy was announced by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel while inaugurating this year's 'Krishi Mahotsav' in Anand town of Kheda district.
As per the policy document, any new projects of agro food processing will get 25 per cent subsidy, maximum of Rs 50 lakh, on the total cost of establishing or upgrading such units in the state.
Projects related to cold chain, food e-radiation, packaging houses and food parks will get 25 per cent subsidy in the limit of Rs 5 crore, on the total cost of establishment of any such unit.
Further, government will give 25 per cent subsidy, having maximum limit of Rs 2.5 crore, on the total cost of setting up primary processing or collection centre of farm produces at village level, it stated. The policy also provides for cheap term loans for entrepreneurs wanting to establish or upgrade food processing units.
The government will give loan up to Rs 1.5 crore at 7.5 per cent interest rate. Various agri-infrastructure projects, such as cold storage, are also eligible to get loans up to Rs 4 crore at 7.5 per cent interest rate, the policy document states. To promote export of agriculture, marine and poultry products, the government has also announced subsidies on the freight paid by exporters who fall into the category of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME).
To encourage MSME units for providing training to employees for skill up-gradation, the government will bear 50 per cent of the training cost, in the limit of Rs 10,000 per employee. Each unit will get a maximum of Rs 50,000 for three years. Under this policy, agro MSME units are now eligible to get 70 per cent refund on the total tax (Value Added Tax) they have paid against the output tax liability for a period of five years.
These units are also eligible to get 50 per cent refund on stamp duty paid for the sale, lease or transfer of land for the project. The policy also stresses on exploring newer ways to sell the agri produces.
Apart from improving the functioning of APMCs, the government will also focus on setting up alternative markets, such as terminal-based markets, commodity spot markets, private market yards etc.
The government will also engage in a comprehensive exercise to invent newer ways to convert agri waste into value-added products to help farmers in increasing their income.