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Three districts chosen as rural business hubs

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K.V. Raghavulu
K.V. Raghavulu

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Nagapattinam, Krishnagiri, and Villupuram districts have been selected by the Central Government as rural business hubs to produce quality goods and improve the standards of rural industries. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development’s (NABARD) promotional programmes will be integrated into this hub for capacity building, skill upgradation and setting up showrooms/marketing outlets.

Addressing media persons here on Tuesday, NABARD’s Chief General Manager K.V. Raghavulu said the concept was to produce quality goods that would be accepted nationally and internationally. The NABARD would organise promotional programmes such as rural entrepreneurship development and skill development programmes.

Detailing future programmes of the bank, Mr. Raghavulu said the corpus for rural infrastructure development fund (RIDF) had been put at Rs.14,000 crore for the entire country. Of this, Tamil Nadu would get 9 to 10 per cent. The fund would be utilised for financing rural infrastructure. A separate window under RIDF for rural roads with a corpus of Rs.4,000 crore had been proposed.The normative allocation for the State had been pegged at Rs.680 crore. In the last financial year, the State had been sanctioned Rs.956.82 crore for roads/ bridges, school buildings, drinking water schemes, irrigation/flood protection and improvement to ‘ooranies.’ The disbursement was to the tune of Rs.800 crore.

A tentative target of Rs.5 crore had been fixed for implementing 100 watersheds in the State for the current year. As on March 31, 119 watersheds, covering an area of 1.10 lakh hectares, had been sanctioned. An amount of Rs.353.82 lakh had been extended as loan to the State Government and Rs.233.17 lakh as grant towards capacity building, conducting feasibility studies and training.

In the last financial year, NABARD extended financial assistance of Rs.2,357 crore to Tamil Nadu and Puducherry under various heads. To provide credit support to farmers in the State, the bank sanctioned Rs.737.73 crore to the Tamilnadu State Cooperative Bank and Rs.120.55 crore to regional rural banks. Of the 22 district central cooperative banks, 10 banks were not eligible for refinance as they did not comply with Sec 11(1) of the Banking Regulation Act. The State Government would take care of the credit needs of the farmers covered by these banks.

Mr. Raghavulu said the pilot project linking self-help groups with post offices in Sivaganga, Pudukottai, Tiruvannamalai, Thanjavur and Tiruvarur had been successful with an encouraging repayment of almost 100 cent per cent. Based on the success of the pilot project, it would be extended to other districts and States. The government had already signed an MOU with the Government of India and NABARD for implementing the recommendations of the Prof.Vaidyanathan Committee, which would provide revival package for all primary agricultural cooperative societies and district central cooperative banks. To arrive at the losses incurred by the banks as on March 31, 2004, a special audit would be conducted. Based on the audit report, the State would be given the revival package. The likely assistance to the State would be of the order of Rs.1,345 crore, he added.

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