Nabard raises credit supportROOPAK GOSWAMI
Guwahati, April 11: The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) will increase its credit support to Assam by 77 per cent in the current financial year.
In 2010-11, the credit support extended to the state was Rs 386.36 crore. It will now be increased to Rs 500 crore.
A senior official of the Assam regional office of Nabard said the credit support was inclusive of support to banks for providing agricultural loans to the farmers and the state government for providing assistance to set up infrastructure in rural areas.
“Nabard will reimburse the loans provided by the banks to the beneficiaries,” the official said.
Nabard is a development financial institution with a mandate for providing and regulating credit and other facilities for promotion and development of agriculture, small scale industries, cottage and village industries, handicraft, other rural crafts and allied economic activities in rural areas with a view to promoting integrated rural development and securing prosperity of rural areas.
It will facilitate provision of banking services to all villages in Assam having a population of more than 2,000 and help in establishing financial literacy and credit counselling centres and rural self-employment training institutes in all the districts.
“It will also strive for priority sector credit flow of Rs 5,000 crore in the state,” the official said. Priority sector credit refers to loans for agriculture that need to be increased.
The target of disbursing priority sector credit of Rs 3,548 crore by banks in 2010-11 is likely to be achieved. Around Rs 2,700 crore was disbursed by December last year.
Nabard will help in setting up 36 model villages in the state under its village development programme.
The official said credit support under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund helped the state develop additional infrastructure like rural roads and bridges, deep tubewells, beel fisheries, improved veterinary hospitals and construction of pay-and-use toilets.
During 2010-11, Nabard sanctioned 240 new projects under the development fund consisting of 223 bridges, four roads, nine beel fisheries, two veterinary hospitals and two minor irrigation projects.
Nabard has also encouraged an innovative method of rice cultivation, popularly known as system of rice intensification (SRI). A model SRI project, covering seven districts of Assam with a budget of Rs 119.84 lakh for around 4,000 farmers in the state, has been launched. An area of around 1,400 hectares would be brought under the SRI method of cultivation in three years.
“The bank has been promoting farmers’ clubs with an objective of mobilising farmers into an informal organisation to have a smooth access to credit and generate a collective bargaining power. The members of these clubs have been exposed to new technology and practices in the agriculture sector. It promoted 352 new clubs in the state and today, 1,102 such clubs are functioning in the state,” the official said.