The Ministry of Railways has disbursed Rs 52.38 Crore as a subsidy through the Kisan Rail Service from October 4, 2020, to June 15, 2021. The service was initiated in 2020 after it was announced in the Union Budget 2020-21.
The Kisan Rail Service has helped the government in expanding access to a nationwide market for farmers.
About Kisan Rail Service
The Indian Railways started running Kisan Rail Services to transport perishables and agri-product, including milk, meat, and fish. This is a multi-commodity, multi-consignor/consignee, multi-loading/unloading transportation product that is aimed at providing a wider market to Kisan or the farmer.
The primary objective of running Kisan Rail trains is to increase the income in the farm sector by connecting production centers to markets and consumption centers.
Connecting railways and agriculture
With the Kisan Rail service, the government attempted to connect railways with agriculture to its advantage. The Indian Railways have been actively working with various stakeholders including the Ministry of Agriculture, State governments, and local bodies to rollout of Kisan Rail services.
Operating on 60 routes
The Kisan Rail service trains have been running on 60 routes. The first Kisan Rail train was flagged off on August 7, 2020, between Devlali (Mah) and Danapur (Bihar). In January 2021, railways were operating the Kisan Rail services on eighteen routes.
Further, the Kisan Rail trains have completed 850 trips and transported 2.7 lakh tonnes of consignment as of June 18, 2021.
Price and subsidy
The transportation of fruits and vegetables by the Kisan Rail is granted a subsidy of 50% on the tariff chargeable by the Ministry of Food Processing and Industries. The farmers get this subsidy amount immediately which is beneficial to them.
Benefit to farmers
The Kisan Rail Service has been helping farmers in several ways, from transporting their seasonal produce safely and in time to saving cost and wastage of the produce by providing storage facilities.
Increase in income:
The primary goal of the Kisan Rail Service is to increase the income of the farmers and the agricultural sector. Further, the subsidy of 50% also helps in lowering the cost of transporting the produce.
The rail service facilitates faster transportation of perishable produce, which otherwise in case of transportation by roadway, not only takes a longer time but also puts them at risk of getting damaged. It ensures that agro-products reach from one corner to another corner of the country in time.
The Kisan Rail trains run on time-tabled paths, and their punctuality is strictly monitored to avoid any en-route detentions and delays.
Recently on June 19, Karnataka’s first Kisan Rail train was flagged off from Kolar to Adarsh Nagar Station, Delhi. The train carried 250 tonnes of mango grown in the Kolar region.
According to Ashok Kumar Verma, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru Division, the transport of farm produce by train through Kisan Rail was cheaper and faster than by road. He said, “The road transport cost is about Rs 7-8 per kg whereas (with subsidy applied), the transport cost per kg by Kisan Rail is just Rs 2.82.”
The Kisan trains carry fruits and vegetables in cold storage facility which is why the produce does not lose any shelf value. Further, perishable cargo centres, a storage facility is available.
The Kisan Rail Service by the Indian Railways is a way forward which minimizes food wastage and puts to good use the services available in the country.