Harsimrat Kaur Badal
National

Operation Green set to take off: Harsimrat Kaur Badal

New Delhi, Sep 25: The central government’s Operation Green scheme to avoid distress sale of surplus produce of Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) is all set to take off,said Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday.

She was talking on the sidelines of the National Post-Harvest and Logistics Summit organised here on Tuesday by the Confederation of Indian Industry. Union Cabinet will consider and clear the proposal relating to the scheme on Wednesday. ``The proposal has been sent to the Union Cabinet for approval,’’ Harsimrat Kaur Badal told reporters.

The scheme is meant for farmers cluster-based approach for management of price volatility of perishable like tomato, onion and potato so that there is no glut in the market and surplus produce is not strewn on streets as had happened in the recent past.

Under the scheme, the Centre will connect with cluster-based farmers with sellers and processors in 15 states. Farmers clusters will be identified by state governments. It will be a pilot project for two years.

The scheme, announced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is modeled on the successful Operation Flood in milk. For this scheme the Finance Minister allotted a corpus of Rs 500 crore.

Operation Greens will promote farmers clusters and FPOs and agri logistics processing facilities to utilise excess TOP produce and help raise farmers income, a Ministry official said. ``It is an end to end solution,’’ he added.

Another proposal on the anvil is for creation of NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company)--a financial institution that will cater exclusively to the credit and lending needs of the food processing sector. The Ministry will seek cabinet nod to bring out an RFP (request for proposal). The ministry has planned for 20 per cent government equity investment in NBFC amounting to Rs 400 crore. Ms Badal said that in a push to food processing sector and logistics, 50 cold chains had been allotted, while 30 more were short-listed.

She said that 15 food parks were completed and four more will be inaugurated in the coming days in Bihar, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Manipur. Earlier she gave awards to agri processing companies and cold chain companies who had done good work. UNI