Mumbai, the financial capital of India, remains the most preferred destination when it comes to disbursement of credits as well as banking operations, according to the annual report (2018-19) of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
Of the total 3,970 branches opened by various banks between April 2016 and March 2017, 3,900 were in Mumbai alone, the report says.
“Of the total 15,073 branches across Maharashtra, 12,904 are in Mumbai and its suburbs. Almost 40 per cent of the deposits are concentrated in Mumbai and its suburbs,” it says.
The data has worried the state government, which is keen to provide easy bank access to enhance agriculture loan disbursements to farmers in rural areas. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has voiced his concerns to the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC). A source in NABARD said, “The CM has sought measures to bridge the infrastructure gap. Farmers should have easy access to the banking system and enhanced allocations for crop loans and allied agriculture activities should reflect in the crop credit disbursement.”
There are 1.37 crore farmers in the state. Of these, 78.6 per cent are small and medium farmers with land holding size less than two hectares. The farm credit for 2018-19 has been fixed at Rs 62,763.37 crore taking into consideration 232.73 lakh hectares under cultivation.
A secretary in the ministry of cooperation and marketing said, “The biggest challenge for the administration is to make the banks accessible to needy farmers across 355 talukas in 35 districts, excluding Mumbai. The maximum disbursement of agriculture and allied funds also goes to Mumbai and its suburbs, which needs to be tackled through corrective measures.”
The government wants the SLBC to ensure at least 80 per cent farmers, especially small and marginal, are brought into the financial institutional mechanism in 2018-19.
A senior NABARD official said, “The credit disbursement imbalance is an outcome of greater allocations provided to non-farming sectors in the last 10 years. This automatically puts Mumbai (suburbs) much higher compared to any other backward regions of Vidarbha or Marathwada.”
Mumbai (suburbs) corners almost 52.37 per cent of the total Rs 3.7 lakh crore under priority sector. Though Mumbai has zero crop loan, credit disbursement under agriculture and allied activities makes it eligible for credit loan. However, when it comes to analysing just crop loan disbursement for Rs 62,763.37 crore, Western Maharashtra leads with 33.92 per cent. Whereas, Marathwada has 24.47 per cent and Vidarbha 24.34 per cent.