With the commencement of Rabi crop season from October 1, the State Government has asked all Collectors to ensure timely and adequate agricultural credit available to the farmer members of the Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) of the State.
Secretary Co-operation, Aravind Agrawal has written a letter to the Collectors in this regard. Due to erratic rainfall during most part of Kharif -2023, there has been widespread rain towards the last part of the season covering most of the districts. This will help retention of residual moisture in the field which will be conducive for Rabi operations, Agrawal said.
Credit is one of the critical inputs required to facilitate short term seasonal agricultural operations by the farming community comprising predominantly the small and marginal farmers. Keeping this in view, the State Government has enhanced the limit of disbursement of interest free crop loans from Rs50,000 to Rs.1 lakh (i.e. at 0% interest), Shri Agrawal pointed out.
Meticulous planning and due emphasis needs to be given to make timely and adequate agricultural credit available to the farmer members of the PACS, he suggested.
The Secretary Co-operation said short term cooperative credit institutions (OSCB, DCCBs and PACS/ LAMPCS I FSCS) have been playing a pivotal role in disbursal of farm credit over the years. Around 50% of the total crop loans disbursed in the State is being provided by these Cooperative Credit Units.
In order to facilitate required credit delivery to farmers in the State, he said, the Government is providing considerable financial support in terms of interest subvention, premium subsidy etc. along with other facilities like propositioning of fertilizers and seeds at the PACS level to give the desired thrust to provision of hassle free institutional credit to the farmers by the Cooperative Credit Societies.
Crop loans financed by the Cooperatives during last Kharif 2023 registered an all time high of Rs.9,702.23 crore as against the target of Rs 9500 crore. This provides the short term cooperative credit structure the ideal backdrop to go for an ambitious Rabi 2023-24 programme to meet the credit needs of the farmers and help increase production and productivity in agriculture.
As against the target of Rs7500 crore fixed for last Rabi 2022-23, a sum of Rs 7972.80 crore was advanced by Cooperative Banks/PACS to 16,55,705 farmers. Accordingly, crop loan investment target for ensuing Rabi 2023-24 seasons has been fixed at Rs 8500 crore, he said.
The DCCBs and PACS have been directed to give emphasis on extending finance to more numbers of eligible new farmers to enhance the coverage of farm families under cooperative credit.
Coverage of tenant farmers, oral lessees and share croppers should be ensured through JLGs, BALARAM Scheme and SHGs with due emphasis on women SHGs, he told the Collectors.
Any disbursement of loan in deviation of these instructions will be considered illegal and the loan sanctioning/disbursing authorities shall be responsible for such illegal loan disbursement, he warned.
In view of the merger of interest subvention under KALIA scheme with interest subvention scheme, the crop loans would be made available to the farmer-members of PACS at the concessional rate of interest of 3% per annum to the borrowers availing loans up to Rs 1 lakh and at 5% interest p.a. to the farmers availing loans from Rs 1,00,001 to Rs3 lakh, for which interest subvention is provided by State Government.
However, effective rate of interest for crop loan up to Rs 1 lakh will be zero percent and crop loan from Rs 1,00,001 to Rs3 lakh will be 2% taking into account the interest incentive of 3% by Government of India admissible to the prompt paying farmers, who repay their loans on or before the due dates .
Loans over and above Rs3 lakh will be provided at commercial rate, which would be decided by the banks concerned.
Shri Agrawal said Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) will continue in Rabi 2023-24 season as per operational guidelines approved by the State Government.
Government has provided a Corpus Fund of Rs 90 crore to the MARKFED to ensure timely positioning and supply of fertilizers to the PACS. The concerned field-level officials were asked to prepare a detailed programme for distribution of fertilizers to the loanee farmers through the PACS.