OTHERS

NCDC cuts interest rates for new schemes

NEW DELHI, JULY 20. The National Cooperative Development Council (NCDC) will in future finance its projects on a reduced rate of interest. It will also provide working capital loans at special rates to cooperatives that meet specific criteria.

Making these announcements at the 50th general council meeting of the NCDC, the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr. Nitish Kumar, said the effective rate of interests had been reduced from 1.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent for various programmes.

Consequently the new rates of interest would range from 13.75 to 14.5 per cent.

These downward changes in interest rates, he hoped, would result not only alleviating resource problems of cooperatives and State governments but also help increase cooperatives' turnover.

Asserting that agriculture as in the past would continue to be a major sector of the economy for long in future also, he said the agriculture policy would be aiming at sustainable agriculture, employment generation, remunerative prices to farmers as an incentive, favourable terms of trade for farmers.

Diversification of agriculture into horticulture, forestry, food processing, fisheries including animal husbandry and dairying with necessary infrastructural backup and value addition is a part of his Ministry's as well as NCDC's special priorities.

Dwelling upon the future prospects for the cooperative sector, he said cooperatives could play an important role in ushering an era of ever-green revolution.

Agro-processing and marketing would be major activities of agricultural cooperatives in the coming years.

Mr. Kumar, who presided over the council meeting, also said a comprehensive bill would be brought in soon for amending the NCDC Act to turn it into an equity based organisation.

These changes would help NCDC enlarge its areas of activities but also facilitate it in acquiring a more meaningful role in future.

He also made it a point to refer to the Northeastern region where marketing, storage, horticulture, poultry, fishery and handlooms have been identified as potential sectors for cooperative activities.

Programmes in the cooperative sector in these areas were being initiated in consultation with State governments and other organisations such as Northeastern Council.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Satyanarayana Rao, asked NCDC to take keener interest in technology induction and technology upgradation if cooperative were to have an edge in the face of the competition they were bound face in the present-day world.