Reserve Bank of India (RBI) set up the Agricultural Refinance Corporation (ARC) in 1963 to work as a refinancing agency in providing medium term and long term agricultural credit to support investment credit needs for agricultural development. In 1975, ARC was renamed as Agriculture Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC) to give focussed attention to credit offtake, development and promotion of the agricultural sector.
Upon its formation in 1982, NABARD took over the functions of the erstwhile Agricultural Credit Department (ACD) and Rural Planning and Credit Cell (RPCC) of RBI and ARDC.
The Department of Refinance (DOR) deals with the short term and long term refinance functions of NABARD.
2. Core Functions of the Department
DOR mainly deals with
- Short-term refinance for production credit activities contributing to food security
- Medium–term and long-term refinance for investment credit activities for giving a boost to private capital formation in agriculture
- DOR also acts as a subsidy channelizing agency for various Government of India schemes
A. Short-term Refinance (ST)
NABARD provides by way of refinance, loans and advances repayable on demand or on the expiry of fixed periods not exceeding 12 months, to Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks for production, marketing and procurement activities. The basic objective of short-term refinance provision is to supplement the resources of banks and to improve credit flow at the ground level. These activities include:
- Short Term refinance for Seasonal Agriculture Operations –ST(SAO)- Concessional refinance is available under this product to State Cooperative Banks and RRBs through STCRCF (Short Term Cooperative Rural Credit Fund) and STRRBF (Short Term Regional Rural Bank (Refinance) fund) respectively, received from RBI, from the shortfall of the Priority Sector Lending of Scheduled Commercial Banks.
- Additional ST(SAO)- Additional Short Term Refinance for Seasonal Agriculture Operations, over and above the normal ST(SAO) limit is provided to StCBs, SCARDBs, RRBs and SFBs, through market borrowings to tide over the liquidity constraints arising due to increased ground level demand for credit, low accretion of deposits, and offset the delay in receipt of STCRC/ STRRB funds allocated by RBI/GoI, etc.
From 2020-21 SFBs are also eligible to avail refinance under additional ST(SAO).
- ST(Others)- Short-term refinance to State Co-operative Banks , Regional Rural Banks and Small Finance Banks, for purposes other than seasonal agricultural operations such as rural marketing, fisheries sector, working capital for MSME, social infrastructure projects, etc. Refinance is also extended to StCBs in respect of advances made to State and Apex Level Agencies engaged in wholesale procurement, stocking and distribution of fertilizers/ agricultural inputs, financing Bonafide Commercial or Trade transactions.
From 2020-21 SFBs are also eligible to avail refinance under ST(Others)
- ST(Weavers)- Short-term refinance to Scheduled Commercial Banks, State Co-operative Banks and Regional Rural Banks for lending to weavers
B. Long-term Refinance
NABARD’s long-term refinance lays emphasis on investment credit which leads to capital formation through asset creation and promotes alternate employment opportunities in rural and semi urban areas by supporting to farm and off-farm sector activities.
NABARD provides long-term refinance to the following institutions to supplement their resources for providing adequate credit for supporting investment activities of farmers and rural artisans, etc.
- Scheduled Commercial Banks
- Regional Rural Banks
- State Cooperative Banks
- District Central Cooperative Banks
- State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks
- Primary Urban Cooperative Banks
- NABARD Subsidiaries
- North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (NEDFI)
- Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs)
- Non-Banking Financial Company- micro finance institutions (NBFC- mFIs)
- Small Finance Banks (SFBs)
The activities cover both farm sector as well as off-farm sector activities. The tenure of refinance is in the range of 18 months to 5 years.
In order to give a boost to the investment credit in agriculture, Government of India set up ‘Long Term Rural Credit Fund’ created out of the shortfall of priority sector lending of scheduled commercial banks, with NABARD for providing long term refinance support to Rural Cooperative Banks and RRBs at concessional rate against their term loans for agriculture activities.
C. Medium-term Conversion
NABARD provides medium term credit limits for conversion of short-term crop loans advanced for financing seasonal agricultural operations (SAO) to State Co-operative Banks and Regional Rural Banks for providing relief to the farmers whose crops have been damaged due to natural calamities.
D. Long-term loans to State Government
NABARD provides long-term (LT) loans to State Governments to contribute to the share capital of cooperative credit institutions. This reimbursement-based support is intended to encourage larger lending programmes by these cooperatives to meet the agricultural credit requirements.
E. Special Liquidity Facility (SLF)
NABARD has disbursed ₹25,500 crore of Special Liquidity Assistance to Cooperative Banks (₹16,800 crore), RRBs (₹6,700 crore) and MFIs (₹2,000 crore) sanctioned by RBI to enable unhindered flow of credit to banks and thereby farmers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additional SLF of ₹1567 crore has been disbursed to 23 NBFC-MFIs and 7 NBFCs with asset size less than ₹500 crore, out of allocation made by RBI, to help the smaller players to withstand the pressure of liquidity crunch.
Taking into account the liquidity crunch faced by the SCARDBs in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, NABARD made available SLF to SCARDBs from its owned funds as front ended liquidity support for eligible SCARDBs to ensure unhindered flow of credit from banks to farmers and continuing their lending operations in the rural areas.
As on 31.03.2021 Rs. 908.16 cr. have been disbursed to SCARDBs in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan and UP under this line of credit.
E. Kisan Credit Card
GoI introduced Kisan Credit Card Scheme during 1998-99 to meet the production credit requirement of farmers in a timely and hassle-free manner. The scheme was further extended for the investment credit requirements of farmers viz. allied and non-farm activities in the year 2004.
The Kisan Credit Card scheme, as revised in 2013, aims at providing adequate and timely credit support from the banking system under a single window with flexible and simplified procedure to the farmers for their cultivation and other needs as indicated below:
a. To meet the short term credit requirements for cultivation of crops
b. Post-harvest expenses
c. Produce marketing loan
d. Consumption requirements of farmer household
e. Working capital for maintenance of farm assets and activities allied to agriculture
f. Investment credit requirement for agriculture and allied activities
The aggregate of components ‘a’ to ‘e’ above will form the short term credit limit portion and the aggregate of components under ‘f’ will form the long term credit limit portion.
From the year 2018-19, GoI has introduced KCC scheme for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries in order to provide short term working capital loans to Animal Husbandry and Fisheries farmers.
The scheme is under implementation in the entire country through the institutional credit framework involving Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Cooperatives. RBI monitors the scheme for Commercial Banks and NABARD for Regional Rural Banks and Cooperatives.
KCC Saturation Drive
Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Govt. of India, has launched a campaign from 08.02.2020 to cover all PM Kisan Samman Scheme beneficiaries under Kisan Credit Cards. Adequate publicity and awareness campaigns were conducted under the campaign to ensure maximum coverage.
Phase-II of KCC Saturation- As a part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Package, the Government has announced to cover 2.5 crore farmers under the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme with a credit boost of Rs. 2 lakh crore through a special saturation drive. Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Govt. of India also decided to simultaneously launch a special drive to provide KCC to 1.5 crore dairy farmers belonging to milk unions and milk producing companies and 1 crore fish farmers. All stakeholders are making concerted and sustained efforts to provide access to concessional credit, to the farmers.
F. Interfacing for GoI Schemes
As the nodal agency for a number of schemes sponsored by the GoI, NABARD has acted/acts as an interface between various stakeholders. The following schemes are currently under implementation
(i) Capital Investment Subsidy Schemes
1. Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Centers
2. National Project on Organic Farming
3. National Livestock Mission
(ii) Interest Subvention Schemes of GoI
• Interest Subvention Scheme for Crop Loans
• Interest Subvention to Small and Marginal farmers against negotiable warehouse receipt
• Interest subvention on working capital to Animal Husbandry and Fisheries
• Interest subvention to women SHGs under DAY-NRLM
• Interest subvention schemes for sugar mills
3. Broad Achievements of the Department at the National Level
Short Term Refinance
An amount of Rs.1,30,964.16 crore was disbursed as short–term refinance during the year 2020-21, out of which Rs.54372.81 cr. were provided as concessional refinance under STCRCF and STRRBF. Purpose-wise and agency-wise break up is given as under
*Includes Rs.3567 cr. disbursed under SLF and ASLF