The Bengal Circle of the State Bank of India has issued instructions to its branches for rescheduling crop loans in the 11 drought-hit districts in West Bengal, Chief General Manager Sureinder Kumar said. Around Rs.100 crore might have to be rescheduled, it was learnt.
“We are now awaiting the State government's notification”, he said in reply to reporters queries in this regard at a press conference organised to announce the green initiatives of the bank, which includes running solar powered ATMs, installing solar panels atop roofs of its offices, residential quarters and training institutions, migrating towards paperless transactions through the use of point-of-sales machines and running electric cars to promote the message of a greener environment.
Senior SBI officials present during the meeting said that while this circle's total exposure to agri-loans was Rs.2,400 crore, disbursement of crop loans during the present kharif season was around Rs.110 crore.
Total agricultural loans were around Rs.500 crore of which about half was short-term and the rest long-term. About Rs.100 crore of the short-term loan, falling due this year, may have to be rescheduled by a year.
Pointing out that it was the duty of banks to extend an increased amount of loans to farmers, he said that during such times farmers' need for loans increased on account of livelihood issues.
He said that SBI's (Bengal Circle's) target for agri-loan disbursement was Rs.2,000 crore for the current fiscal year.
State Finance Minister A. Dasgupta has said that of the 43,000 hectare sown during the kharif season, cultivation spread over 11,000 acre has become uncertain due to inadequate rainfall with some of the affected districts getting only 50 per cent of the normal rainfall.
Referring to the circle's projections on business growth, he said that a 30 per cent growth was being targeted in retail business with the overall business being pegged at Rs.95,000 crore against Rs.75,000 crore.
Growth in the first quarter has been of the order of Rs.3,500 crore.