Thursday, Jun 04, 2020 14:15 [IST]
Last Update: Thursday, Jun 04, 2020 14:15 [IST]
GANGTOK: In a major boost to agriculture and allied sectors in Sikkim, the State government along with banks have joined forces to pump in more funds by extending credit facilities to the farmers to realise the green economy along with increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through agriculture, animal husbandry sectors and doubling the farmers’ income.
Making a series of key announcements a day after his meeting with the banking officials, State Agriculture minister LokNath Sharma on Wednesday informed all banks operational in the State have assured to extend all possible support in the allied sectors.
Among the decisions taken during the meeting, the banks decided to dedicate every Wednesday to resolve the banking issues of farmers.A district level review meeting of Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry department would be held on first Thursday of every month to address the issues of the farmers. Also, Credit Facilitation Camp (Bankers Borrower's meet) will be organized in an identified location on periodical basis to ensure in-principle sanction of the loan to the farmers. Loan melas will also be held incorporating numerous constituencies to draw light on the issues of farmers, shared the minister stressing on the support from banking sector to the farmers.
The Agriculture minister mentioned that extension of credit linkage to the agriculture and animal husbandry sectors would help realise the hopes and aspirations of the farmers and contribute to the State’s GDP. He stressed on the huge number of applications received from educated youths to initiate farming as an alternate source of livelihood and urged bankers to provide subsidized loans.
Sharmasuggested the bankers to generate awareness about the farmer friendly loan schemes and other related provisions. He expressed that the systematic and inter-connected approach of the bankers would definitely benefit the farming community at large.
The minister further informed that it has been decided to procure seeds and other locally available inputs and transfer cash directly to the farmer engaged and do away with the intermediaries. He said everyone must adopt and practice agriculture as this will benefit in all circumstances and the State will be self-sufficient.
“We aim to expand the agriculture, horticulture sector of the State so that it not only become self-sufficient but can export to other States within the country and abroad too so that farmers are benefitted at large,” he said.
Agriculture principal secretary R.Telanginformed that the meeting had detailed discussion with respect to credit extension to the farmers and FPOs from the banks. There are 28 FPOs formed under MOVCD scheme and these FPOs have done tremendous job during the lockdown by marketing the locally grown vegetables. “The State government has given great emphasis to the agriculture sector wherein we have initiated such activities. To scale up the sector the government alone cannot suffice, so we decided of pumping some funds as subsidies credit facility from the banks in this sector. The bankers unanimously agreed to initiate the activities in a proactive manner,” said Telang.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Sikkim general manager in-charge RavindraSangvai said the meeting laid stress on increasing financing in the agriculture sector.
“The credit extension needs to be extended to entrepreneurs, youth and farmers of Sikkim to boost the State’s economy. We will initiate agriculture, animal husbandry credit facility in the State and there are many loans under agriculture sector which doesn't require collateral for which we aim to initiate financial literacy camps,” said Sangvai.
The State Bank of India (SBI) being the convenor of State-level Bankers Committee will also issue circular to all banks operating in the State to expedite the decisions taken by the government with respect to extension of credit in agriculture, animal husbandry sectors.
Of the 66,000 farming families in the State, only around 11,000 have KisanCredit Card facility. The new initiative plans to extend the credit facilities to all farmers along with 5,000 Self Help Groups in the State of which only 30 percent are availing the credit facility as of now.