Schemes for farmers: CM worried as banks ‘miserably’ fail to meet target

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee — who is going to face crucial three-tier Panchayat polls in less than five months from now — is worried after official report exposed the dismal performance of banks in issuing Kishan Credit Cards (KCC), agricultural credit and crop insurance — the three main tools being used by the Trinamool Congress government to woo farmers.

At the beginning of the fiscal year, the state government had set up an ambitious target of providing KCC to 10 lakh small and marginal farmers. Almost three quarters of the fiscal year have passed, but banks could achieve only 50 per cent of target.

The reasons for delay in issuing KCC as pointed out by the state government include reluctance of the banks, absence of specific information from the banks about KCC and lack of awareness among the farmers.

The banks, on the other hand, pointed out that "fraudulent use of land records" to obtain KCC have compelled them to be very watchful before issuing the cards. Furthermore, recovery position is also low in West Bengal. The proceedings of the 118th meeting of State Level Bankers Committee highlighted that "the NPA position is 5.86% which is considered very high as per industry standard. Recovery percentage under various schematic lending is also deteriorating over the years".

Official records revealed that from 1 April to 30 September (first two quarters), only 2,49,702 KCCs have been issued against a target of 10 lakh cards, while loan disbursed to KCC holders stood at Rs 1,72,890.91 lakh. The achievement was only 25 per cent till the first two quarters. "In the third quarter, the performance has improved but did not reach the expected level," an official said.

Unhappy with the report, the Chief Minister summoned bank representatives and district magistrates to Writers' Buildings' on Friday and urged them to expedite the process of issuing KCCs.

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