Mumbai: National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), India’s premier agriculture and rural development financial institution, has disbursed Rs 3,10,849 crore as on January 31, 2021 for various rural infrastructure projects across the country since the inception of Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) in 1995, a dedicated fund to create social assets in rural India. This fund has constituted around 10% of Gross Capital Formation in the rural areas, informed Dr G R Chintala, Chairman, NABARD today.
In FY2021, the sanctions to the RIDF stood at Rs. 30200 crore; as against the corpus of Rs. 30,000 crore. The disbursements for the current financial year as on 31 January 2021 stand at Rs 16,500 crore, informed Dr Chintala.
“The increased allocations to the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) and Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF) at Rs 40,000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore respectively will help push rural infrastructure projects across the States,” said Chintala while reacting on the Budget 2021. Dr. Chintala also maintained that the agriculture credit target of Rs 16.5 Lakh crore will help the agriculture and non-agriculture sectors access more funding from the banking systems. He said the Budget has focused on structural reforms for ‘Aatmanirbhar Kisans'.
Dr. Chintala said, "The Budget has accelerated sustainable agriculture sector's growth by pegging an agriculture credit target of Rs 16.5 lakh crore”. He further said, “The re-capitalisation of Rs 2000 crore to NABARD and that of Rs 1200 crore to regional rural banks will help achieve the target of agriculture credit."
According to NABARD, over the years, RIDF has become a dependable source of funding for the States and Union Territories for building, strengthening rural infrastructure in critical areas like Agriculture and Irrigation, Rural Connectivity and Social Sector including Drinking Water, Primary Health and Education.
Doubling the Micro Irrigation Fund to Rs 10,000 crore will promote water use efficiency in agriculture. As per NABARD, over the last two years, an amount of Rs. 3970 crore has been sanctioned to seven States viz., Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, West Bengal, Punjab and Uttarakhand; which would help in bringing around 13 lakh hectare of land under Micro Irrigation.
Dr. Chintala informed that more number of States have shown interest in availing assistance from Micro Irrigation Fund to minimize the risks associated with rainfed agriculture to climate change. He also maintained that the Group of Secretaries (GoS) has recommended for covering of additional 98 lakh hectare area under Micro Irrigation during the 15th Finance Commission i.e. 2021-22 to 2025-26.