RBI raps Banks’ Neglect of Agriculture Lending –TIMES OF
NAGPUR- 31ST December 201o
The reserve bank of India (RBI) has rapped commercial banks for their ‘indifference’ toward the priority sector which largely comprises farm lending. Priority sector is coordinated through a system of state level bankers committee (SLBC) which prepares the credit plan for this sector consisting of agriculture, small business and small industries.
The committee is required to hold meeting every quarter however ,apex bank observed that these meting are neither conducted in time nor the agenda is circulated in advance .the level of participation is also low which undermines their objective. the meeting have to chaired by chairman cum managing director of the convener bank or additionally co-chaired by the additional chief secretary or development commissioner of the state concerned here as one of the bank is appointed ad convener of SLBC .
RBI through a notification,has intimated that the convener bank would now have to prepare a yearly meeting calendar in the beginning of the year itself and it should clearly mention the cut off dates of data submission to SLBC .it stresses that the meeting should be conducted as per the schedule under all circumstances .in case banks default in submitting relevant data for the meeting ,the matter should be taken up at the meeting an followed up.
As per the notification preparation of the meeting calendar and intimation of cut off date for submission of data will have to be completed before January o15 of every year .the meeting will have to be held within 45 days of the end of the quarter and follow-up on the points emerged during discussions done within 40 days of meeting.
Commenting of the situation, farm activist Kishore Tiwari of Vidrabh Janandolan Samiti said the bankers in the region have remained lackadaisical toward farm lending which is major function of the SLBC .this is evident from lack of interest in holding the meeting too.
“In farm suicide hit yavatmal district itself the collector has repeatedly written to the banks to disburse the crop loans as per scale of approved nationalized bank ,said tiwari.
In July 2006 ,after the prime minister declared the relief package a farm loan outlay of Rs.2500 crore was fixed foe west vidarbha however out of this only Rs.1600 crore ere disbursed .the prime minister has announced that out lay will be doubled to Rs.5000 crore from next year on wards yet the loans disbursed for the current year stands at mere Rs.1160 crore ,added Tiwari
‘The mega debt waiver declared by February 2008,led to a large number of farmers qualifying for bank credit however commercial banks have been wary of lending to them .’he said
A senior bankers on the condition of anonymity said that priority sector was actually losing priority among the bankers .lately, it has been observed that the quality of the personnel posted in the SLBC has also gone down