Special Correspondent

Coop. bank to give sops to farmers who repay loans promptly

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank, which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee this year, has announced five welfare schemes for its farmer members.

At a press conference here on Monday, bank president K. Sivadasan Nair said that farmers repaying their loans promptly would get a waiver of five per cent of the interest component of the repayment instalment under one of these schemes called the `Good Paymaster Scheme.'

This waiver is applicable for repayments made from January 1 this year. For any single farm loan, the waiver thus allowed will not exceed Rs.500. If an individual farmer has more than one loan from the bank, each loan is eligible for this benefit. Mr. Sivadasan Nair said that the bank expected a revenue outgo of Rs.3 crores for implementing this scheme.

He said the second scheme was for extending accident insurance coverage to all farmers who had borrowed money from the primary societies under the bank. This scheme, entailing an estimated expense of Rs.1 crore as insurance premium, would ensure a compensation of up to Rs.1 lakh to the insured, Mr. Sivadasan Nair said.

Under the third scheme, the bank would provide a sum of up to Rs.25,000 to borrowers for treatment expenses in the event of serious illness. Only farmers who had been prompt with their repayments till being taken ill were eligible for this assistance. The bank expected this scheme to cost it nearly Rs.1 crore.

He said the fourth scheme was to honour members selected at the State and district levels with awards for their good performance as farmers during the current year. The best farmer member selected at the State level would get Rs.1 lakh as the award. The second prize at the State level would carry a purse of Rs.50,000. At the level of each district, Rs.15,000 would be given as the first prize and Rs.10,000 as the second prize.

Mr. Sivadasan Nair said that the bank would also launch a one-time-settlement scheme to help small and medium farmers who had defaulted the repayment of their loans. "The bank will give the maximum possible concessions to the loan defaulters under this scheme," he added.

He said the bank had a network of district units and primary societies covering the entire State. The outstanding borrowings of nearly 11 lakh farmer members of this network at the moment come to Rs.1,600 crores. The bank had disbursed Rs.334 crores to its members in 2004-05. The target this financial year was to disburse loans to the tune of Rs.500 crores. And, so far during the financial year, the bank had disbursed Rs.300 crores, Mr. Sivadasan Nair said.