Rs 11 lakh crore target for priority sector lending to agriculture an achievable target: FM

The finance minister, Mr Arun Jaitley emphasized that the banking sector must invest in long-term assets to improve the capital formation in agriculture sector

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New Delhi: The Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Mr Arun Jaitley has stated that the agriculture credit flow target of Rs 11 lakh crore for the financial year 2018-19 is achievable by the banking sector and would add to the momentum towards doubling the farmers’ income by 2022.

The Finance Minister, Mr Jaitley delivered the annual address to the Board of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) recently in New Delhi. He also reviewed the Funds announced in the earlier Union Budgets and stressed the need for all the stakeholders to collaborate to improve the farmers’ income.

Mr Jaitley also emphasized that the banking sector must invest in long-term assets to improve the capital formation in agriculture sector. He further stated that the investments in financial technology over the past few years have brought in efficiency, speed and transparency in the rural financial ecosystem.

Mr Rajeev Kumar, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Government of India, highlighted the necessity of financial inclusion and adoption of technologies to make use of the opportunities arising out of higher GDP growth. He requested the banking system to concentrate on geographical areas like North East, East and Central India where the formal credit can give a fillip to the growth potential these areas offer. He also mentioned that his Department is actively engaged with other Ministries to create an enriching eco-system.

Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman, NABARD mentioned that NABARD has operationalized the funds announced in the previous Union Budget and specifically said that the Prime Ministers’ Grameen Awas Yojana is about to be supported through Rs.9000 crore shortly. The Rs 5000 crore Micro Irrigation Fund which will promote water conserving and productivity-enhancing technologies, will also be operationalized shortly. He emphasized the need for formation of robust Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs) and committed to the Finance Minister that NABARD will also form FPOs quickly.