KARNATAKA

Banks told to lend more for agriculture

HUBLI, JULY 24. Rural and semi-urban branches of banks should give loans to at least 100 new farmers to achieve the goal set by the Union Government to double the outlay for agriculture, Narayan Reddy, Deputy General Manager of Vijaya Bank, the lead bank in the district, has said.

He was speaking at the district-level Review Committee meeting here recently.

Mr. Reddy expressed concern over the poor rate of recovery under government schemes, which, he said, was posing a threat to the implementation of credit-linked poverty alleviation programmes.

He requested the district administration and various government departments to cooperate with the banks in improving the recovery rate.

Mr. Reddy appealed to the authorities concerned to take up the issue of release of crop insurance immediately as this had become a problem for banks as well as farmers because of the non-availability of revenue stamps and withdrawal of stamp duty concessions.

`Satisfactory'

Mr. Reddy described as satisfactory the performance of banks under various Government-sponsored schemes.

But under the Prime Minister's Rozgar Yojana, there was a wide gap between the allocation and the amount disbursed by banks as loans, he said.

He also expressed concern over the poor performance of commercial banks in extending credit to self-help groups.

Mr. Reddy said there had been an 18 per cent increase in deposit mobilisation and 30 per cent increase in the advances by banks in Dharwad district in 2003-04.

As against the target of Rs. 291.56 crores, the banks had advanced Rs. 389.83 crores for the priority sector. The credit advanced for agriculture stood at Rs. 112.28 crores as against the target of Rs. 99.77 crores, he added.

Prahlad Joshi, MP, who inaugurated the meeting, said the banking sector had to balance its social commitments with its commercial interests.

Water conservation

The Deputy Commissioner, Gourav Gupta, called upon banks to concentrate on financing water conservation and watershed programmes.

C.K. Parthasarathy, Manager of the lead bank district unit, welcomed the gathering.

Gautam Sarkar, Assistant General Manager, Reserve Bank of India; S.H. Kulkarni, Assistant General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development; and K.S. Umapathy, Chief Executive Officer of the Dharwad Zilla Panchayat; participated in the deliberations.

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