"Bankers must promote share croppers, oral lessees and the landless farmers in addition to micro-entrepreneurs as they had a duty to aid this vulnerable section of the economy" said S. Natarajan, Deputy General Manager, NABARD

A three-day exposure programme on Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) was held here from Monday for officers of commercial banks, co-operatives and Regional Rural Banks in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

Delivering the inaugural address, S. Natarajan, Deputy General Manager, NABARD Watersheds Unit in Madurai which covers eight southern districts, said that bankers must promote share croppers, oral lessees and the landless farmers in addition to micro-entrepreneurs as they had a duty to aid this vulnerable section of the economy. A lot of opportunities existed in the agricultural sector to form JLGs and NABARD’s Farmers Clubs could be effectively used as a platform. He also called upon the bankers to focus on rural areas since each and every motivated individual with conviction could make a difference.

Speaking earlier, R. Shankar Narayan, NABARD Assistant General Manager, said that membership in the basically loan-driven JLGs comprised between four and ten farmers from the same neighbourhood pursuing the same activity. They would furnish jointly a mutual undertaking to repay the loans even if a member defaulted. This system was far superior to the usual collaterals secured by the bankers. The NABARD, he said, felt that eventually the JLGs should become a conduit for purveying technology and training. The JLGs should eventually federate into producer companies to command better price realisation for the farmers and producers.

Mr. Shankar Narayan also requested bankers to use the JLG mode as a tool of convergence for supporting various subsidies and credit linked schemes of the government such as dairying and drip irrigation.

V. Suresh, Deputy General Manager and Faculty Member, Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD), Mangalore, who is conducting the programme, informed the gathering that the programme objective was create awareness among bankers and increase their conviction levels to this fast emerging credit product for the rural poor.

Over 45 participants from Commercial Banks, Co-operatives and Regional Rural Banks in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra took part in the programme. As part of the training inputs, the officers were taken on an exposure visit to interact with the JLGs funded by Panyan Grama Bank in addition to experience sharing from among the participants.

The training module also includes group presentations and preparation of Action Plan for promotion of JLGs in their respective area of operations.

Keywords: share croppersJLGsNABARDBIRD

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