The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new umbrella scheme to increase farmers’ incomes by ensuring minimum support price for their produce. In its meeting on Wednesday, the Cabinet also approved the setting up of four National Institutes of Design and the electrification of broad gauge railway routes that are still not electrified.

The umbrella scheme to raise farm incomes is called “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyaan [literally, income security plan for farmers]” or PM-ASHA. States will have an option to choose from multiple schemes to protect farmers when prices fall below the minimum support level, PTI reported.

One of the schemes allows the states to rope in private players for procurement of oilseeds on a pilot basis, said Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh. States will also have the option to continue with the existing price support scheme, under which central agencies procure commodities.

Another scheme has been framed on the lines of the Bhavantar Yojana in Madhya Pradesh, which protects oilseed farmers by paying them the difference between the minimum support price and the monthly average price in the wholesale market.

Among other decisions, the Cabinet approved setting up National Institutes of Design in Vijaywada, Jorhat, Bhopal and Kurukshetra, which will get the status of institutes of national importance, Union minister Piyush Goyal said.

After the electrification of 13,675 km of un-electrified routes at a cost of Rs 12,000 crore, India will have the largest electrified rail network in the world, Goyal, who is the railway minister, said.