Nagesh Prabhu

The bank has pledged to enhance credit flow to agriculture and allied activities

BANGALORE: To mark its silver jubilee celebrations, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the country’s largest rural development bank, has pledged itself to enhance the credit flow to agriculture and allied activities to attain an annual target of four per cent growth rate in the sector.

Established on July 12, 1982, by an Act of Parliament, NABARD is celebrating silver jubilee this year from July 12. The agriculture credit functions of the Reserve Bank of India and the refinance functions of then Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation were transferred to NABARD on its formation.

NABARD, which has made contributions in promoting entrepreneurship among the women and transforming the rural life in the State, has planned a grand function at Town Hall here on July 12. It would present awards to best performed self-help groups (SHGs) and farmers’ clubs on the occasion.

The bank’s top officials told The Hindu that “the bank has made 25 years of committed service to rural prosperity.” In the last quarter century, the investment credit refinance disbursed by it in the State has touched Rs. 6,494 crore.

It is viewed that the bank has evolved over the past two and half decades into a strong and rural-sensitive developmental institution with complete grass-root level understanding of the complexities of the agricultural and rural sectors.

NABARD has said: “In the coming years our thrust areas will be financing cold storages, and rural godowns, agri-clinics, and business centres, removal of restrictions on the movement of food and farm products, forward trading to cover all commodities, widening coverage of micro finance.”

Kisan Credit Scheme introduced in 1998-99 has been a success and has helped farmers in increasing their access to institutional credit. As on March 2007, cards were issued to 38.89 lakh farmers. Cards that covered the Personal Accident Insurance Scheme stood at Rs. 30.23 lakh.

From a modest beginning of linking 114 SHGs with the bank credit in 1992-93, the SHG-Bank Linkage Programme made rapid strides and reached over three lakh groups by March 31, 2007. Karnataka has been among the top three States in terms of credit-linkage. As many as 720 agencies promoted 4.1 lakh SHGs in the State.