Odisha to launch Balaram Yojana for agricultural credit to landless farmers

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Bhubaneswar: In another innovative support to Farming Community during post lockdown period, Government have initiated steps for extending agricultural credit facility to the landless cultivators in the State. A high-level meeting to this effect was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Asit Tripathy in Lokseba Bhawan conference hall today wherein Principal Secretary Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Sri Sourabh Garg outlined different facets of the proposal designed in collaboration with NABARD, Odisha.

Considering the proposal, Chief Secretary Sri Tripathy directed to extend credit facility to the landless farmers on the basis of ‘social collateral’ through joint liability groups (JLGs). Sri Tripathy further directed to workout appropriate institutional mechanism for coordination and monitoring at different levels. The Principal Secretary Finance Sri Ashok Meena, present in the meeting was advised to mobilize the banking sector through SLBC for “extending credit support to the landless cultivators and bhag-chasis who generally remain out of the credit fold”. Development Commissioner Sri Suresh Chandra Mohapatra advised to orient Krusak Sathis and Village Agriculture Workers to implement the scheme in its true spirit. Sri Tripathy added, “Extending credit to the real cultivators will be a firm step towards enhancing productivity in the agricultural sector”.

The implementation model of the scheme was deliberated in the meeting, and, it was decided that IMAGE and ATMA would be the nodal agencies at the State and District levels respectively. It was further decided to incentivize the Krushak Sathis and VAWs through ATMA for formation of JLGs, linking them to the banks, mobilizing disbursal of credit and facilitating repayment of the loan. Each bank would finance at least 10 JLGs in a year. There are around 7000 branches of different banks and PACS in rural and semi-urban areas. Each JLG would have five members. Each group could be extended the loan up to Rs.1.60 lakh. It was targeted to cover around seven lakh landless cultivators through 1.40 lakh  JLGs within a period of two years. The credit would be available as normal crop loan. The rate of interest and interest subvention would be as per the existing norms of Government of Odisha.

Chief General Manager NABARD A. Chandra Sekhar said, “This scheme is first of its kind in the country. Through this scheme, the real field level agricultural activities will have credit inflow of around Rs.1040 cr”.

Development Commissioner Sri Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, Principal Secretary Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment Sri Saurabh Garg, Principal Secretary Finance Sri Ashok Meena, Principal Secretary Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare Sri Vir Vikram Yadav, Director Agriculture Sri Muthu Kumar, CGM, NABARD A. Chandra Sekhar along with MD State Cooperative Bank, senior officers from SLBC and concerned departments participated in the deliberations.

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