In a significant development, the Indian government has given the green light to a groundbreaking food grain storage scheme set to revolutionize the cooperative sector. Minister Anurag Thakur, addressing the media after a Cabinet briefing, labeled the proposed initiative as the “world’s largest foodgrain storage programme” within the cooperative sector.
The government has earmarked an impressive allocation of approximately Rs 1 lakh crore for this transformative scheme. As part of its implementation, every block will witness the construction of a godown capable of accommodating 2000 tonnes of grain. Furthermore, an inter-ministerial committee will be established to oversee the project’s execution.
The primary objective of this scheme is to enhance foodgrain storage facilities across the country, with a specific focus on bolstering the cooperative sector. Minister Thakur emphasized the potential benefits, stating that the programme aims to augment India’s foodgrain storage capacity by a staggering 700 lakh tonnes within the cooperative sector. At present, the country’s grain storage capacity stands at approximately 1,450 lakh tonnes.
Over the next five years, the storage capacity will be expanded to reach an impressive 2,150 lakh tonnes, primarily through investments in the cooperative sector. This strategic move intends to address the issue of food grain damage caused by inadequate storage, curtail distress sales by farmers, decrease import reliance, and generate employment opportunities in rural India.
By reinforcing food security within the nation, this initiative not only guarantees improved prices for farmers’ produce but also safeguards against hasty sales driven by climatic uncertainties, as noted by Minister Thakur.
India is home to a remarkable 65,000 agricultural cooperative societies. Consequently, this novel venture is poised to benefit not only these societies but also farmers and consumers. In addition to providing storage facilities for their produce, farmers will be eligible for loans of up to 70% from these cooperative societies, leading to substantial cost savings in transportation.
Considering that India’s annual foodgrain production amounts to approximately 3,100 lakh tonnes, the existing godown facilities can currently store only up to 47% of this output. Hence, this visionary scheme aims to bridge this significant gap and pave the way for a more efficient and robust storage infrastructure.
In a parallel development, the government also announced the initiation of the City Investments to Innovate, Integrate, and Sustain (CITIIS) 2.0 program during the same Cabinet briefing. This additional endeavor signifies the government’s commitment to promoting sustainable urban development and harnessing innovative solutions to address urban challenges.
The approval of the world’s largest food storage scheme in the cooperative sector marks a crucial milestone in India’s agricultural landscape. With its potential to drive economic growth, improve food security, and empower farmers and cooperative societies, this initiative sets a remarkable precedent for other nations to emulate.