Central Bank Opts For Agri-priority Survey

Mumbai, September 16: | Updated: Sep 17 2003, 05:30am hrs
The Central Bank of India (Central Bank) has initiated a household economic survey in the 26,000 service area villages for offering need-based productive finance as part of boosting its direct agricultural advances to 13.5 per cent by March 2005. The bank is targeting to disburse Rs 1,100 crore of advances through this channel to farmers during fiscal 2003-04.

Under the scheme the branch manager will undertake a survey of credit needs of farmers in 26,000 service area villages attached to the banks 1,419 rural and 743 semi-urban branches to give thrust to direct agriculture advances. The direct farm credit is at 9.2 per cent now, Central Bank general manager priority sector lending P Subba Rao, told FE.

The bank has also started offering new credit limits to the farmers who have already settled their earlier loans under the one-time settlement or compromise settlement, as per the directions of its board, Mr Rao added.

The advances to agricultural sector, including agriculture-related sectors, was at Rs 4,028 crore as on June 30, 2003 constituting 17.2 per cent of the total loan portfolio of the bank. The present is expectecd to take the total agricultural loans beyond the Reserve bank of India (RBI) specified 18 per cent minimum target.

Central Bank has surpassed the RBI specified minimum limit under the priority secrtor lending to 44.1 per cent by June 30, 2003, with a portfolio of Rs 10,311 crore, when compared to Rs 9,021 crore as on June 30, 2002, Mr Rao added.

In this direction, the bank has also set a target to issue one lakh fresh kisan credit cards during the current fiscal to take the total number of such cards of the bank to four lakh by March 2004, to facilitate hassle-free credit drawings by farmers for carrying out agricultural activities, Mr Rao said.

We have also set a target for increasing the number of self help groups (SHGs) under the cbanks fold by 5,000 more during the fiscal to 26,000 by March 2004, Mr Rao added.

The bank has also tied-up with three tractor manufacturers Tafe Ltd of Chennai, Eicher of Delhi and International Tractors of Chandigarh for financing their products, with an agreement with these companies to make tractors available to the banks customers for Rs 5,000 below dealer announced price, Mr Rao said.