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Agriculture Credit to farmers
Capital Market | March 2018
The Government of India fixes agriculture credit disbursement targets for the banking sector every year and banks have consistently surpassed these targets. The details of Agriculture Credit Targets fixed by the Government and the achievement by the Banks, for the last three years (2014-15 to 2016-17) as reported by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) are given as under:
 
Agriculture Credit Target &Achievement
 
(Amount. in Rs. Crore)Year Target allotted by GoI Achievement Percentage Achievement of target2014-15 8,00,000.00 8,45,328.23 105.67 2015-16 8,50,000.00 9,15,509.92 107.71 2016-17 9,00,000.00 10,65,755.67 118.42
The activity of money lending is regulated by State-specific money lending laws. The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) conducted Situation Assessment Survey (SAS) of Agricultural Households during NSS 70th round (January, 2013- December 2013) in the rural areas of the country for reference period of the agricultural year July 2012- June 2013 which reveals the following:-
 
About 52 percent of the agricultural households in the country were estimated to be indebted. At all India level, about 60 percent of the outstanding loans were taken from institutional sources which included Government (2.1 percent), Co-operative society (14.8 percent) and Banks (42.9 percent).
 
Government/Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken several measures to increase institutional credit flow and bringing more and more farmers including small and marginal farmers within the fold of institutional credit. These measures inter alia, include the following major steps to provide hassle free crop loan to farmers including small and marginal farmers (SF/MF):-
 
As per RBI directions, Domestic Scheduled Commercial Banks are required to lend 18% of the Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANBC) or Credit Equivalent to Off-Balance Sheet Exposure (CEOBE), whichever is higher, towards agriculture. A sub-target of 8% is also prescribed for lending to small and marginal farmers (SF/MF) including landless agricultural labourers, tenant farmers, oral lessees and share croppers. Similarly, in the case of Regional Rural Banks 18% of their total outstanding advances is required to be towards agriculture and a sub-target of 8% has been set for lending to small and marginal farmers. With a view to ensure availability of agriculture credit at a reduced interest rate of 7% p.a. to the farmers, the Government of India in the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers' Welfare implements an interest subvention scheme for short term crop loans up to Rs. 3.00 lakh. The scheme provides interest subvention of 2% per annum to Banks on use of their own resources.
 
Besides, additional 3% incentive is given to the farmers for prompt repayment of the loan, thereby reducing the effective rate of interest to 4%. Further, in order to discourage distress sale of crops by farmers, the benefits of interest subvention has been made available to small and marginal farmers having Kisan Credit Card for a further period of up to six months (post-harvest) at the same rate as available to crop loan against negotiable warehouse receipts to store their post harvest produce in Warehouses accredited by Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority (WDRA). The Government introduced the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) Scheme, for issue of KCC to farmers for uniform adoption by the banks, so that farmers may use them to readily purchase agriculture inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. and draw cash for their production needs. Under the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) Scheme, a flexible limit of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000 has been provided to marginal farmers (as Flexi KCC) based on the land holding and crops grown including post harvest warehouse storage related credit needs and other farm expenses, consumption needs, etc., plus small term loan investments without relating it to the value of land. RBI has conveyed to Banks to waive margin/security requirements of agricultural loans upto Rs.1,00,000/-. The requirement of 'no due' certificate has also been dispensed with for small loans up to Rs.50,000 to small and marginal farmers, share-croppers and the like and, instead, only a self-declaration from the borrower is requiredTo bring small, marginal, tenant farmers, oral lessees, etc. into the fold of institutional credit, Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) have been promoted by banks. One of the main objectives of financing through JLGs is to augment flow of credit to landless farmers cultivating land as tenant farmers, oral lessees or share croppers and small / marginal farmers as well as other poor individuals taking up farm activities, off-farm activities and non-farm activities. As on 31st March, 2017, cumulatively 24.53 lakh Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) have been provided Rs.26,848.13 crore loan by banks across the country.
 
As reported by NABARD the share of SF/MFs accounts in total number financed by all agencies grew from 60.07 per cent in 2015-16 to 72.06 per cent in 2016-17. More importantly, in terms of amount disbursed, the share of SMFs grew from 41.51 per cent (in 2015-16) to 50.14 per cent (in 2016-17). In actual terms, the agriculture credit disbursement towards SF/MF grew from Rs. 3.80 lakh crore in 2015-16 to Rs. 5.34 lakh crore in 2016-17, while the number of SF/MF accounts grew from 5.40 crore to 7.71 crore during this period.