The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved a Rs 7,522-crore Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) from which enterpreneurs, fishermen, cooperatives will get loans at subsidised interest rate and two years moratorium on repayment of principal amount. The credit facilities will help attract investment in fisheries development, boost fish production by 67% in next four years, the government said.
“The approval entails an estimated fund size of Rs 7,522 crore, comprising Rs 5,266.40 crore to be raised by the nodal loaning entities (NLEs), Rs 1,316.6 crore from beneficiaries’ contribution and Rs 939.48 crore by budgetary support,” an official statement said. The credit from the FIDF outlay will have to be disbursed by 2022-23.
The aim is to raise India’s, the world’s second largest producer, fish production to 20 million tonne per year by 2022-23 from current level of about 12 million tonne, an agriculture ministry official said. There was an urgent need to create the necessary infrastructure in fisheries sector to achieve the target, an agriculture ministry official said.
The credit from the fund will help generate over 9.40 lakh direct and indirect employment of fishermen and others in fishing and allied activities, he said. There are about 1.5 crore people engaged in the fisheries sector. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), National Cooperatives Development Corporation (NCDC) and all scheduled banks are the designated NLEs in disbursal of the fund. The department of animal husbandry will frame guidelines, likely in next three months, to operationalise the fund during which the interest rate will be decided, the official said. However, sources said the lending might be kept at 6% rate of interest as done in the Nabard-operated dairy sector fund.
While Nabard may be allowed to disburse to state governments and scheduled banks, the cooperatives will be allowed to avail the funding through the NCDC, the sources said. Individuals and private entrepreneurs will have to approach banks and state governments to avail the loan under the FIDF, the sources said.
The government has fixed the repayment period at maximum 12 years including moratorium of two years on principal amount.
Listing out the benefits, the government said this fund would help in creation of fisheries infrastructure facilities both in marine and inland fisheries sectors. The government aims to achieve a sustainable growth of 8-9% between 2020 and 2023. Under the Blue Revolution programme, the government had targetted 15 million tonne fish production by 2020.