After cyclone and floods damaged crop fields in the State, the State government on Monday moved to restructure and re-phase crop loans.
At a hurriedly convened meeting of State Level Bankers’ Committee, Additional Chief Secretary and Finance Secretary U. N. Behera asked bankers to consider converting short-term loan into medium term loan at 2 per cent per annum for farmers. This would enable the farmers to utilise fresh crop loan in view of recent cyclone and flood, Mr. Behera said.
All banks including commercial banks, regional rural banks and co-operative banks were advised to restructure and re-phase the existing loans in affected areas as per RBI guidelines. Besides, banks were urged to give importance to fresh loan to victims for resumption of normal business.
Focusing on rabi crop loan finance, Mr. Behera called upon all banks to achieve the annual target of crop loan and term loan of agriculture, including allied sector, positively.
Banks were also asked to implement RBI guidelines with regard to rehabilitation package in respect of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The State Level Bankers’ Committee resolved to expedite the credit delivery to affected people by organising special camps by the line departments of the government in coordination with the banks. All banks were advised to issue necessary instructions to the branch-level functionaries for implementation of action plans that emerged at the meeting.
It was also decided to hold monthly review meeting at the State level as well as district level for close monitoring of progress of implementation of relief and tehabilitation measures to be undertaken.
Despite the emphasis laid on crop loan, commercial banks and other public sector banks have failed to achieve targeted disbursement of agricultural loan in the State.
The State had set a target disbursement of crop loan of Rs. 13832.31 crore from 41 scheduled banks. However, after kharif season, banks had disbursed only Rs. 5226.12 crore registering an achievement of 37.78 per cent.
The achievement of public sector banks in crop loan was 24.45 per cent, private sector banks (18.36 per cent), two regional rural banks (27.08 per cent), commercial banks (25.26 per cent) and cooperative banks (48.42 per cent).
Taking exceptions to dismal rate of agriculture loan disbursement by banks during kharif season, the government had even threatened to drop several banks from the list of banks eligible for investment of government and public sector fund. This flood had damaged 1.98 lakh hectares of crop area.