TAMIL NADU

Credit plan gives thrust to agriculture

SALEM, MARCH 24. The Annual Credit Plan for 2005-06 for the district has earmarked Rs. 419.38 crores for farm sector, which is 56 per cent of the total projected credit outlay of Rs. 752.82 crores.

Centre's direction

Launching the plan at a district-level review committee meeting here on Wednesday, the Collector, A. Sukumaran, said agriculture and allied sectors had been given more thrust, as the Centre had directed banks to double their agriculture credit by 2007.

In the current fiscal year, banks had disbursed Rs. 358.49 crores of loans up to January 2005, which was higher than the current year target of Rs. 311.51 crores.

Of the total outlay for farm sector, crop loan alone accounted for 42 per cent.

The remaining amount had been assigned for schemes in minor irrigation, land development, farm mechanisation, plantation and horticulture, dairy and poultry development and wasteland development.

Loans to SHGs

The administration had planned to promote water efficient systems such as drip irrigation and sprinkler for sugar cane, cotton, tapioca and horticulture crops.

Banks were liberal to lend loans to Self-Help Groups (SHGs) for micro enterprise activities suitable to their area.

It was also planning to build marketing complexes in rural areas to sell products of the SHGs.

Non-governmental organisations had been invited to form more SHGs in rural areas particularly for the upliftment of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and people listed below poverty line, the Collector said.

The non-farming sector, which included tiny industries, village industries and rural artisans had been allotted Rs. 128.11 crores and other priority sectors such as retail trade, small business, housing and transport Rs. 205.37 crores in the plan.

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