Act against banks not aiding farmers, says Tiwari
TNN | Jul 23, 2017, 03.43 AM IST
Nagpur/Amravati: Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission head and farm activist Kishore Tiwari has blamed the nationalized banks and their managers for being indifferent towards farmers.
"Despite clear NABARD and the state government instructions to take up a proactive stance towards farm lending, the banks have again shown an apathy to farmers," said Tiwari.
He pointed out that nationalized banks have, till date, barely met with 15% of the kharif target. Even for the stopgap Rs10,000 loan for sowing needs, nationalized banks have been slow. As a result, out of 89 lakh eligible farmers, only 3,200 could avail of it till Friday.
Tiwari pointed out that this year the total khairf farm credit target was hiked by Rs7,000 crore from Rs51,000 cr to 58,000 and nationalized banks were expected to play a bigger role. But the PSU banks have once again failed to rise to the occasion. Last year they had completed 80% of the target by this period. He further claimed that the district cooperative banks, though not in best financial health, have done far better by meeting 50% of their farm credit target.
Tiwari has asked the government and NABARD to take strong action against bank officials failing to meet the target set for them. "The mission is keeping a close watch on the situation. If any farmer commits suicide and we find that banks had failed to provide timely credit to such a farmer, we will take up such cases," Tiwari warned.
The mission chief has welcomed state government's decision to make drip irrigation compulsory for sugar cane which is a water guzzling crop. He said the mission had recommended it to the chief minister a year ago. Sugar cane is an 18-month cash crop, requiring nearly 25,000 tmc water for one hectare. If drip irrigation is introduced, it will save nearly 7500-12500 tmc of water per hectare.
According to the scheme approved by the state cabinet this week, the government will give a loan to farmers of up to Rs85,400 per hectare at subsidized interest rates of 2%. The state government aims to bring nearly 3.05 lakh hectares of land of the 9.42 lakh hectare under sugar cane cultivation under this scheme in the next two years. There are 2.25 lakh hectares which are already under drip irrigation.