The Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare recently reviewed the matter of simplifying the documentation and sanctioning process for the National Horticulture Board (NHB) schemes, in response to the demands of the farming community. After considering the recommendations of a duly constituted committee, the scheme design, documentation, and sanctioning process have been simplified. The new scheme design will be effective from 15.03.2023, and it will significantly reduce the sanction time from 6-8 months to less than 100 days. The simplified process will require minimal documentation and greatly benefit the farming community.
The NHB, operating under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, provides back-ended capital investment subsidy schemes for promoting commercial horticulture and cold chain infrastructure in the country.
The salient features of the simplified scheme design include the elimination of the two-stage system of In-Principle Approval (IPA) and Grant of Clearance (GoC). Applicants can apply straightaway for Grant of Clearance to NHB after sanction of the term loan by the bank. The IPA system has been replaced with a Letter of Comfort (LoC) to facilitate the applicants to get the term loan sanctioned from the Banks/Fls for their proposed project.
Minimal documents are required for seeking LoC/GoC. The processing of LoC/ GoC application will be completely digital, including examination and sanction of applications. The platform has been augmented with the timeline monitoring systems, so that every step can be monitored as per the pre-set target timelines.
Applicants are free to apply for LoC/GoC either at AIF or NHB portal. In case the loan is sanctioned under AIF, the entire data will be captured from AIF portal through API. NHB will follow short templates for DPR and Bank appraisal note, as prepared by NHB after taking into account the template available on AIF.
After the application is submitted, an email will be sent to the applicant along with a reply/confirmation link to the financing bank. The concerned bank needs to confirm the authenticity of documents online. Based on the confirmation of documents by the bank, NHB will issue GoC. The stage of inspection of the location for GoC has been replaced with a mobile app-based self-inspection.
Queries on GoC applications, if any, will be communicated to the applicant/Bank automatically by system/email. Subsidy claim documents will also be submitted by bank/applicant online. The revised simplified process will not only shorten the timelines for sanctioning of GoC/subsidy applications, but it will also greatly help the farming community with a minimum documentation process.