Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched an Agricultural Investment Fund worth Rs 1 lakh crore to provide an impetus to the farming sector amid the coronavirus crisis. Modi also transferred Rs 17,000 crores to the bank accounts of over 8 crore farmers as the sixth installment of the PM-KISAN scheme.

Modi said that under the PM-KISAN scheme, cash benefits were transferred directly to the farmers without any intermediaries or middlemen. “Rs 17,000 crore under the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi has been deposited into the bank accounts of 8.5 crore farmers with a single click,” Modi said during an online address. “There was no commission. I am satisfied that the objective of the scheme is being fulfilled.”

Modi added that Rs 75,000 crore has been deposited directly in the bank accounts of the farmers in over a year. He said that the government’s objective was to make India’s farmers more self-reliant.

The prime minister said that the agricultural fund will help farmers build warehouses for their produce, reduce wastage and boost the value of their crop. “The Fund will catalyse the creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets such as cold storage, collection centres, processing units,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. “These assets will enable farmers to get greater value for their produce, as they will be able to store and sell at higher prices, reduce wastage, and increase processing and value addition.”

The 1 lakh-crore agriculture fund will be made available to the farmers over four years, Hindustan Times reported. Between 2020 and 2021, Rs 10,000 crore will be made available to the farmers as loans. In the remaining three years, Rs 30,000 crore will be available to the farmers each year.

The farming sector has been severely-hit by the coronavirus crisis. India’s coronavirus count crossed 21 lakh on Sunday. The country recorded a huge increase of 64,399 cases, taking its total to 21,53,010. More than 43,000 people have died of the coronavirus in India.