`Banks hostile to farmers' plight, over 30L await crop loan'
Mumbai:'Jun 20 2016 : The Times of India (Mumbai)
Task Force Chief Says CM Must Review Financial Practices
“I reviewed the present status of disbursement of loan for farmers, particularly in the droughtand suicide-prone areas in Vidarbha and Marathwada regions, and was stunned to know that of the 44 lakh eligible farmers, only 9.6 lakh were given financial assistance worth a total Rs 9.6k crore,“ Tiwari told TOI.
Tiwari said that at a highlevel meeting of state-level bankers' committee, presided over by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the government has set a target of Rs 53,282 crore, including a share of Rs 17,505 crore of district central cooperative banks, Rs 29,151 crore of commercial banks and Rs 2,300 crore of rural banks. “Fadnavis has set the target of covering 80% of the farmers under the credit plan, but it was found that the target may not be achieved owing to the indifferent attitude of the financial institutions.“
Tiwari added that it was shocking that despite clear instructions of the NDA government, nationalized banks were reluctant to extend loans to farmers, while the financial condition of district central cooperative banks and rural banks was so weak that they themselves need an action plan for revival. “Targets have been set for rural and district banks, but most of these institutions are struggling to survive,“ he added. Nationalized banks, said Tiwari, lack speed and interest in extending financial assistance for the agriculture sector. “Red tapism has taken over the public sector banks; they are not alive to the plight of the farmers, they are hostile. Also, it was found that they insist on no-objection cer tificate over previous loans.“
Tiwari revealed that so far, nationalized banks have disbursed just 32% of the crop loan against the targets set by the state government. “If the bank fails to give loan to the kin of a farmer who has committed suicide, a case of culpable homicide should be registered against the branch manager,“ he said. “It's time the CM takes a review of performance of these financial institutions.While farmers are committing suicides owing to agrarian crisis, heads of financial institutions are insisting on the rule book.“ Endorsing Tiwari's views, trade union leader in the banking sector Subhash Sawant said heads of nationalized banks will have to change their approach to tackle the agrarian crisis. “Bank heads are rigid while extending loan to farmers, but when it comes to industrialists, they are very liberal.“