Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval to a new centrally sponsored scheme – “Scheme for Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (FME)” for the unorganised sector on all India basis with an outlay of Rs.10,000 crore. The expenditure will be shared by the Central and the states in ratio of 60:40.
1. Objectives of the scheme
- Increase in access to finance by micro food processing units.
- Increase in revenues of target enterprises.
- Enhanced compliance with food quality and safety standards.
- Strengthening capacities of support systems.
- Transition from the unorganised sector to the formal sector.
- Special focus on women entrepreneurs and aspirational districts.
- Encourage waste to wealth activities.
- Focus on minor forest produce in tribal districts.
2. Salient features
- Expenditure to be shared by Government of India and states at 60:40.
- 200,000 micro-enterprises will be assisted with credit linked subsidy.
- Scheme will be implemented over a 5 year period from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
- Cluster approach.
- Focus on perishables.
3. Support to Individual micro units
- Micro enterprises will get credit linked subsidy at 35 percent of the eligible project cost with ceiling of Rs.10 lakh.
- Beneficiary contribution will be minimum 10 percent and balance from loan.
- On-site skill training and handholding for DPR and technical upgradation.
4. Support to FPOs, SHGs and cooperatives
- Seed capital to self-help-groups (SHGs) for loan to members for working capital and small tools.
- Seed capital will be given to SHGs at Rs. 4 lakh per SHG for loan to members for working capital and small tools.
- Grant for backward and forward linkages, common infrastructure, packaging, marketing and branding.
- Skill training and handholding support.
- Credit linked capital subsidy.
- Grant will be provided to farmer producer organisations (FPOs) for backward and forward linkages, common infrastructure, packaging, marketing and branding.
5. Administrative and implementation Mechanisms
- The Scheme would be monitored at Centre by an Inter-ministerial Empowered Committee (IMEC) under the chairmanship of Minister for Food Processing Industries.
- A state/UT Level Committee (SLC) chaired by the chief secretary will monitor, sanction and recommend proposals for expansion of micro units and setting up of new units by the SHGs, FPOs/ and cooperatives.
- The states and UTs will prepare Annual Action Plans covering various activities for implementation of the scheme, which will be approved by the Central government.
- A third party evaluation and mid-term review mechanism would be built in the programme.
6. State/ UT Nodal Department & Agency
- The state and UT government will notify a nodal department and agency for implementation of the scheme.
- State/ UT nodal agency (SNA) would be responsible for implementation of the scheme in the state and UT level including preparation and validation of state/ UT Level Upgradation Plan, Cluster Development Plan, engaging and monitoring the work of resource groups at district and regional level, providing support to units and groups.
7. National Portal & MIS
- A National level portal would be set-up wherein the applicants and individual enterprise could apply to participate in the scheme.
- All the scheme activities would be undertaken on the national portal.
8. Convergence framework
- Support from the existing schemes under implementation by the Government of India and state governments would be availed under the scheme.
- The scheme would attempt to fill in the gaps, where support is not available from other sources, especially for capital investment, handholding support, training and common infrastructure.
9. Impact and employment generation
- Nearly 800,000 micro- enterprises will benefit through access to information, better exposure and formalisation.
- Credit linked subsidy support and hand-holding will be extended to 200,000 micro enterprises for expansion and upgradation.
- It will enable them to formalise, grow and become competitive.
- The project is likely to generate 900,000 skilled and semi-skilled jobs.
- Scheme envisages increased access to credit by existing micro food processing entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in the aspirational districts.
- Better integration with organised markets.
- Increased access to common services like sorting, grading, processing, packaging, storage etc.
- There are about 25 lakh unregistered food processing enterprises which constitute 98 percent of the sector and are unorganised and informal. Nearly 66 percent of these units are located in rural areas and about 80 percent of them are family-based enterprises.
- This sector faces a number of challenges including the inability to access credit, high cost of institutional credit, lack of access to modern technology, inability to integrate with the food supply chain and compliance with the health and safety standards.
- Strengthening this segment will lead to reduction in wastage, creation of off-farm job opportunities and aid in achieving the overarching government objective of doubling farmers’ income.