Nabard asks banks to relax loan norms for jobless graduates

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 5 2009, 05:51am hrs
Unemployed agriculture graduates can soon avail easy loans. The state-run National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) has asked banks (including scheduled commercial banks, regional rural banks (RRBs), state cooperative banks (SCBs) and State Co-Operative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks) to initiate appropriate measures, whereby loan can be extended to unemployed agriculture graduates against the assets to be created in the project, which would be mortgaged with the banks.

The agriculture graduates are employed under the Centres scheme for agriclinics and agribusiness centres launched in 2002, with the objective of supplementing the efforts of the government extension system on fee-for-services basis through economically viable ventures.

Nabard sources told FE One of the main problems in getting bank loan is the arrangement of collateral security, since the projects are to be set up by unemployed graduates, who are not able to arrange these collaterals.

In order to overcome this problem, banks will be sensitised to extend loan against the assets to be created in the project, which could be mortgaged with the banks.

Its observed that many proposals get rejected as they fail to meet the banks appraisal norms.

Out of 75,000 agriculture graduates (15,000 per year) qualified from various state agricultural universities (SAUs) and colleges during the period of implementation of the scheme (2002-03 to 2006-07), only 4,152 graduates got employment.

It accounts for 6% of the total unemployed agriculture graduates.

This indicates that the scheme requires more aggressive sensitisation and removal of possible hindrances to bring more graduates to take benefit of the scheme, Nabard sources said.

According to Nabard, on an average agriclinics and agribusiness centre has been able to serve 30 villages per clinic and 19 farmers per village. On an average Rs 8 lakh have been invested per unit.

During recent study instituted by the department of agriculture and cooperation it was found that 4,152 ventures have made total investment of Rs 300 crore.

This includes both capital intensive as well as low investment projects. The ventures started under the scheme comprises 70% self finance and 30% loan from the banks apart from self finance.

Sources reiterated that this clearly indicates that banks have not been adequately sensitised towards this scheme as they seek collateral security for the loan amount which in most cases is not possible for unemployed agri graduate and it discourages agripreneurs from taking up the venture.

Nabard said the study revealed that agriclinics equipped with new/advanced knowledge have better trouble shooting abilities and some ventures involved with input supplies have improved the access of farmers to better inputs.

Similarly, the farmers found that the most important benefit that they derived was increased productivity and in turn increase in their income.

The major benefits to the farmers availing the services of agriclinic centres are the increased awareness among them on scientific ways of farming.