NEW DELHI: The government will now provide a 50% subsidy on the transportation cost of notified fruits and vegetables that will be carried by Kisan Rail from surplus production clusters to consumption centres. This subsidy can be availed by individual farmers, food processors, cooperative societies, retailers, state and cooperative marketing agencies till December 11.
The notified items include mango, banana, guava, papaya, citrus, pineapple, pomegranate and jack fruit in fruits and the list of vegetables include onion, potato, tomato, French beans, brinjal, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower and okra. The Railway Board made this announcement on Tuesday, just a day before fourth Kisan rail from Nagpur is scheduled for the flag off.
The subsidy will be borne by the food processing industries ministry (MoFPI), which is implementing Operation Greens from Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) to all fruits & vegetables (TOTAL) under the AtmaNirbhar initiative. The ministry had extended the subsidy scheme till December 11.
The objective of intervention is to protect the fruits and vegetables growers from making distress sale due to lockdown and reduce the post-harvest losses.
The Railway Board on Tuesday wrote to principal chief commercial managers of all zones that the food processing industries ministry has agreed to extend a subsidy on transportation of the notified fruits and vegetables through Kisan Rail trains and it will initially provide Rs 10 crore to operate the scheme, which will be deposited with South Central Railway.
“Once this corpus has been utilized, Indian Railways will provide a utilization certificate to MoFPI, and MoFPI will provide additional funds to Railways. Zonal railways are, therefore, requested to extend a subsidy of 50% on transportation of notified fruits and vegetables through Kisan Rail trains – with immediate effect,” the Board said.
The railways has announced to run more Kisan trains as and when it receives requests from the state governments. Transportation of fruits and vegetables by train is cheaper than ferrying these produce by trucks and additional subsidy will make railways more attractive for transporting these perishable items.