The overall loss to crops and properties caused by heavy rains due to the recent Nilam cyclone that battered 19 districts in the State is preliminarily put at Rs. 1,550 crore.

Giving this figure for the first time at a conference of Chief Ministers of States and CEOs of banks and financial institutions at Bengaluru on Tuesday — convened by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to discuss finances to various developmental schemes — Mr. Reddy said the rains damaged crops over 20 lakh acres besides public assets like roads and irrigation tanks.

He said the State had spent from its own pocket to meet the contingency towards relief and restoration, seeking releases by the Centre to reimburse this expenditure.

Joining other Chief Ministers, Mr. Reddy complained that banks and financial institutions were reluctantly participating in the welfare schemes being implemented by States for the poor, citing non-sanction of bridge loans to many beneficiaries of Indiramma housing programme as a ‘classic case’. Consequently, the programme taken up to saturate the housing needs in the State remained hampered.

The shortfall in lending to SCs and STs in the State through their financial corporations was of the order of 62 per cent and 13.5 per cent respectively.

The achievement towards priority sector in case of minorities was mere 7.5 per cent against 15 per cent target set up.

Rescheduling loans

The Chief Minister, however, expressed happiness that all these institutions were not alike, as many of them assumed a proactive role in disbursing credit.

Touching upon other financial matters, he thanked the Centre for enhancing crop loans target for the State by Rs. 1 lakh crore and pleaded for extension of interest subvention scheme to rescheduled crop loans as well, making it applicable to tenants.

Another plea made by him was for reduction of premium rates under National Agriculture Insurance Scheme and for extending interest subvention scheme to loans being given through Stree Nidhi, a fund floated by the State to help self-help groups and liberate them from micro finance institutions.

He highlighted the initiatives taken by him like introduction zero-interest loans for farmers and self-help groups but regretted that only Rs. 200 crore could be disbursed to tenants against a Rs. 2,000-crore target set for this year.

He wanted banks and financial institutions to comply with RBI rules to ensure credit to micro and small enterprises which were contributing immensely to GDP.

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