The Union Cabinet on Wednesday took 5 economic decisions with an estimated expenditure of over ₹2.88-lakh crore. These include raising the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for 14 Kharif crops, setting up a green field port, and expanding Varanasi airport, among others.

“As PM Narendra Modi had said, there will be major decisions during the first 100 days, and these are the first set of such decisions,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said while announcing cabinet decisions. This was the first Cabinet meeting after the allocation of portfolios to Union Ministers in the third term of the Modi government.

MSP for kharif crops

Talking about MSP, he said that MSPs have been raised between ₹117 and ₹983 for Kharif crops for marketing season 2024-25, to ensure remunerative prices to the growers for their produce. “The hike is expected to give a total benefit of ₹2-lakh crore to farmers, Vaishnaw said while clarifying that this figure has been arrived based on procurement data. When asked about impact of MSP hike on inflation, he said that all factors have been taken into consideration and there will not be much impact. He also said that interest of farmers have to be kept in mind.

Varanasi airport

Talking about the expansion of Varanasi airport, he said this will include the construction of a new terminal building, an apron extension, a runway extension, a parallel taxi track, and allied works. The estimated financial outgo will be over ₹2,800 crore for enhancing the passenger handling capacity of the airport to 9.9 million passengers per annum (MPPA) from the existing 3.9 MPPA.

The New Terminal Building, which encompasses an area of 75,000 sq m, is designed for a capacity of 6 MPPA and for handling 5,000 Peak Hour Passengers (PHP). It is designed to offer a glimpse of the vast cultural heritage of the city.

Vadhavan port

The cabinet also approved setting up a major Port at Vadhavan near Dahanu in Maharastra. It will be developed as an all-weather Greenfield deep draft major port in Vadhavan, Palghar District, Maharashtra. The total project cost, including the land acquisition component, is ₹76,220 crore, the minister said. “On completion, the port will be one of the top 10 ports in the world,” Vaishnaw added.

Boosting RE

In an effort to boost renewal energy, the cabinet approved the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) scheme for offshore wind energy projects at a total outlay of ₹7,453 crore. This will include an outlay of ₹6,853 crore for the installation and commissioning of 1 GW of offshore wind energy projects and a grant of ₹600 crore for the upgradation of ports to meet logistics requirements for offshore wind energy projects.

In order to help with the implementation of three new criminal laws, the cabinet approved the proposal of the Home Ministry for Central Sector Scheme “National Forensic Infrastructure Enhancement Scheme (NFIES) with a total financial outlay of ₹2,254.43 crore during the period from 2024-25 to 2028-29. 

The financial outlay of the Central Sector Scheme will be provisioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs from its own budget.