Co-op Banks Need To Gear Up For Higher Agricultural Credit, Opines Ranjana Kumar

Bhubaneswar, Aug 26 | Updated: Aug 27 2004, 07:10am hrs
The chairperson of the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard), Ranjana Kumar, Wednesday said that co-operative banks in the country need to gear up for undertaking massive investments in agriculture and rural development, envisioned by the Union government.

As much as 55 per cent of short-term agriculture loans in the country is being handled by the co-operative banks. Nabard has initiated steps to revamp the co-operative banks in the country, she said.

Ms Kumar told reporters that Nabard has relaxed certain norms to help out the co-operative banks in the country. The banks were allowed to roll over their high-cost loans for a low interest rate. Refinance has been increased to 30 per cent from 18 per cent. Moreover, the national agriculture bank is providing special funds for renovation and modernisation of banks, she added.

Lamenting that the district and primary co-operative banks in Orissa are in very bad shape, she said that Nabard is really concerned about it.

Though the Orissa State Co-operative Bank is making profit, the district central co-operative banks (DCCBs) and Primary Agriculture Co-operative Societies (PACS) are quite inactive. She said that while four DCCBs are under Section 11, about 60 per cent of the PACS are not active in Orissa.

The Nabard chief said that her bank has provided Rs 1.80 crore from the Co-operative Development Fund for the renovation and modernisation of the co-operative banks in Orissa.

She said Nabard will take up a training programme for the co-operative bank officials and employees. Ms Kumar said that Orissas productivity is low at 47 per cent and commercial crop farming is about three per cent.

To improve productivity and encourage commercial cropping, Nabard is going to introduce 30 schemes in the state. She said that already nine schemes were introduced in Orissa.

Nabard chief general manager (CGM), Orissa, SAK Kareem, said that his bank is going to refinance to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore this fiscal in the state as compared to Rs 1,010 crore in 2003-04. He said that the refinance for agriculture would be about Rs 1,250 crore this fiscal as against Rs 980 crore last year.