The Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme has not found many takers ever though it was launched way back in 1998.
A Jammu and Kashmir Government report has pointed out that till 2007-end,not more than 74,301 cards were issued in the state involving a disbursement of Rs 283.7 crore. The report has noted that the agriculture department’s role and performance in this regard has been dismal.
Principal Secretary,Agriculture,Sonali Kumar,however,put the blame on banks,The banks are to be blamed for the slow delivery of credit to farmers.
Agriculture department officials said many factors together were responsible for the scheme failing to attract farmers.
The farmers in Jammu and Kashmir have very snall agriculture land holdings — the basis on which they get loans. Due to small landholdings,they get less loan amount, said an agriculture department official.
Director (Agriculture),Jammu,Vinod Bhala Sharma,too,said,We sponsor farmers to get loans from financial institutions. However,it is the banks that delay in loan disbursal. The banks have been asked from time to time to ease their formalities for releasing loans to farmers. The matter has been taken up at the state level and even district level bankers’ committee meetings.
Officials also added that one of the main reasons behind farmers showing little interest in KCC is that the latters rate of interest
is almost same as that of other loans.
The KCC scheme stipulates that the rate of interest will be what the Central Advances Department (CAD) has fixed. That rate of interest is almost same as is for the other loans, said an official at the Jammu and Kashmir Bank.
Experts,however,said that banks delay loans as farmers fall in the high-risk group. “Instead of banks doing it,loans should be disbursed through the grassroots institutions of panchayats,” said Professor Jasbir Singh of the department of Economics Jammu University.
Officials said the KCC scheme has begun picking up pace in the last few years.
The response to the credit card scheme was poor when it was launched.
In 2005-06,as many as 11261 credit cards were issued. Also the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is pushing the banks to give extensive coverage to the credit card scheme,” officials added.