Odisha Chief Secy directs to extend credit facility to landless farmers through JLGs

Bhubaneswar: In another innovative support to the farming community of Odisha during the post-lockdown period, the Naveen Patnaik-led government has 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 Asit Tripathy in Lokseba Bhawan conference hall on Thursday, wherein Principal Secretary Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Sourabh Garg outlined different facets of the proposal designed in collaboration with NABARD, Odisha.

Considering the proposal, the Chief Secretary directed to extend credit facility to the landless farmers on the basis of 'social collateral' through joint liability groups (JLGs).

Tripathy directed to work out an appropriate institutional mechanism for coordination and monitoring at different levels. Principal Secretary Finance Ashok Meena, who was present in the meeting was advised to mobilise the banking sector through SLBC for "extending credit support to the landless cultivators who generally remain out of the credit fold".

Development Commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra advised to orient 'Krusak Sathis' and village agriculture workers to implement the scheme in its true spirit.

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. It was decided that IMAGE and ATMA would be the nodal agencies at the state and district levels, respectively.

It was further decided to incentivise the Krushak Sathis and VAWs through ATMA for the formation of JLGs, linking them to the banks, mobilising disbursal of credit and facilitating repayment of the loan. Each bank would finance at least 10 JLGs in a year.

There are around 7,000 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 targetted to cover around seven lakh landless cultivators through 1.40 lakh JLGs within a period of two years. The credit would be available as a normal crop loan. The rate of interest and interest subvention would be as per the existing norms of the Odisha government.

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 1,040 crore." 

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