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.

Till September, the commercial banks could issue 1,57,126 KCCs against the target of 4,23,200. The achievement is only 37 per cent. The SBI associate banks have issued only 5,924 KCCs against the target of 20,000. The regional rural banks, whose target is 1,51,800, have issued only 46,910 cards — achieving only 30 per cent result. The West Bengal State Cooperative Bank has issued just 39,742 KCCs which is far below than target of 4 lakh.

Also amount of money disbursed towards crop insurance is not very encouraging. While in 2011-12 fiscal, Rs 8,022 crore was disbursed towards crop insurance, only Rs 3,767 crore was disbursed by banks towards crop insurance till September this year. The credit flow towards agriculture and allied sector also exposed the pathetic performance of the banks. While Rs 14,387.41 crore was disbursed as credit to the sector in 2011-12, the amount of credit provided to the agriculture and allied sector in the first two quarter of current fiscal is just Rs 6727.49 per cent, which is just 28.63 per cent of the target amount of credit flow (Rs 23,500 crore), according to official records.

In 2011-12 financial year, the state government has set up an ambitious target of 10 lakh issuance of KCC at 10 lakh but actually issued 7.25 lakh KCCs.

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