The target of delivering loans worth Rs 11 lakh crore to the farm sector in 2018-19 is achievable by the banking sector, which will add to the momentum towards doubling the farmers’ income by 2022, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday. The volume of institutional credit for agriculture is projected to rise from Rs 8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs 10 lakh crore in 2017-18. Delivering the annual address to the Board of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) in New Delhi, Jaitley emphasised that the banking sector must invest in long-term assets to improve capital formation in the sector. He said investments in financial technology over the past few years have brought in efficiency, speed and transparency in the rural financial economic system.
Speaking at the same event, financial services secretary Rajeev Kumar requested the banking system to concentrate on geographical areas like northeast, east and central India, where formal credit could give a fillip to the growth potential these areas offer. Nabard has operationalised the funds announced in the previous Union Budget and specifically, the Prime Ministers’ Grameen Awas Yojana is about to be supported through Rs 9,000 crore shortly, said Nabard chairman Harsh Kumar Bhanwala. The Rs 5,000-crore micro irrigation fund to promote water conserving and productivity-enhancing technologies would also be operationalised shortly, he added.