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‘Arms to Farms’ scheme envisaged in BJP’s vision document is a reality now: Brig Gupta

Bharatiya Janata Party, Jammu & Kashmir in its vision document for the planned development of the state issued prior to the 2014 assembly elections had envisaged a scheme ‘Arms to Farms’ in which soft loans were to be provided to ex-servicemen for herbal cultivation to include Lavender Farms. Brig Anil Gupta, a senior leader of the ex-servicemen and state spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party in a letter to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had requested the Ministry of Defence to facilitate launching of the scheme. Mr Parrikar has informed Brig Gupta in writing that the scheme is being promoted through “Self-Employment for Ex-Servicemen Scheme II (SEMFEX II).” The scheme is being promoted with the assistance of NABARD. Agro/food processing units can be set up irrespective of location in rural and urban areas. There is no upper limit for loan in respect of projects under farm sector. NABARD provides interest free soft loan assistance to banks to meet the margin money requirement. The primary lending institutions are Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks, and State Co-operative Banks etc.
The National Medicinal Plant Board will provide subsidy under various components, such as nursery, cultivation, storage, processing units, quality testing labs and marketing of Herbal and Medicinal plants. 20-75% subsidy will be provided for cultivation of various medicinal plants based on demand and supply in National and International market.
In response to the request to include goods sold through CSD canteens under exempt list in the GST regime, the Defence Minister has informed that once GST Bill is passed an amendment to the Constitution is made a GST council will be formed which will take final decision regarding various tax exemptions to be given, and in what form. In order to overcome the problem of supply of medicines in ECHS polyclinics, Mr Parrikar has written that Authorised Local Chemist as in case of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) is under consideration. “In order to reduce the burden of multifarious cards an ex-serviceman is required to carry, a multi-purpose digital card encompassing all cards (canteen, ECHS, PPO, Dependent Card issued by three services) is under consideration as informed by the Defence Minister,” according to Brig Gupta.
Brig Anil Gupta thanked the Defence Minister for the personal interest being taken by him for the welfare of ex-servicemen and hoped that under the present Modi government maximum issues related to the welfare of veterans including establishment of Sainik Colonies would be resolved favourably.