June 6, 2021 12:21:32 am
Ahead of kharif-sowing, which commences mid-June, slow process of crop loan disbursement in Maharashtra has set the Maha Vikas Aghadi government worried as it is detrimental to farmers reeling under financial crisis.
Of Rs 60,860 crore provided for crop loan, Rs 7,766 crore (13 per cent) has been disbursed to farmers. The non-disbursement of 87 per cent of crop loan has led the state cooperation and marketing department to issue a stern directive to financial institutions.
State Cooperation and Marketing Minister Balasaheb Patil, for the first time, has given a projection of 69 lakh farmers, who should be covered under the crop loan in the kharif season. The total number of farmers in the state with bank accounts are 1.52 crore, of which, 69 lakh are likely to take crop loans. The total areas under kharif-sowing are 141 lakh hectares.
Patil said, “With prediction of good a monsoon this year, farmers are likely to go for early sowing. Therefore, inordinate delay in crop loan disbursement by financial institutions will defeat the stated objective to help the farmers financially.”
“All the banks should expedite the process of crop loan disbursement across rural areas, and where necessary, they could deploy additional manpower to keep pace with the demand for funds among farmers,” he added.
Officially, the process of crop loan applications and disbursement starts in March. But due to the second wave of Covid-19, which made deeper inroads in rural Maharashtra, the disbursement operations was partially hit, said a senior State District Cooperative Bank official.
“Commercial banks must enhance the crop loan process in June to cover the maximum number of farmers,” the minister said.
Though Rs 60,860 crore crop loan is the target, there is scope to increase the loan credit to Rs 79,190 crore, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development has indicated.
An official said: “We want to ensure that crop loan distribution achieves 80 per cent target. It is a huge task, especially amid the pandemic.” To facilitate uninterrupted process, the state has exempted agriculture and allied activities from lockdown restrictions across Maharashtra.
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