Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks at an RBI conference to mark the bank’s 80th anniversary (“ >Lend to the poor: Modi tells banks ,” April 3) give rise to the feeling that banks in India are generally anti-farmer and anti-poor. This is in contrast to the facts. All banks, especially public sector banks, mandatorily lend 40 per cent of aggregate credit to the priority sector which includes categories such as agriculture, micro- and small enterprises, education, housing — and according to RBI directives. Very often, these targets are met by banks. The non-availability of electricity, water, an absence of modern agricultural techniques and an indiscriminate waiver of farm loans are some of the factors largely responsible for agrarian distress and farmer suicides. And, it is the political class and not banks that are responsible for the sorry plight of the farm sector.
Bhanamma Aravinda Bai,
The Prime Minister’s call to banks is surprising. Banks are run with stakeholders’ and depositors’ money. Banks are also not charitable institutions and have to show profits, pay salaries to staff/officers and also pay taxes to the government. In this Budget, the government has not extended significant relief to the farm sector. Is the Prime Minister aware that farmers are in need of 24-hour power supply, warehouse and transport facilities and also a fair system in the open market without the aid of agents and intermediaries to dispose of agriculture produce? The government must not make banks, especially public sector banks, bear the brunt of faulty economic policies.
Jagdip H. Vaishnav,