BHUBANESHWAR: The state government on Thursday urged NABARD to enhance its loan assistance to Rs 10,000 crore under various schemes like rural infrastructure development fund (RIDF), rural infrastructure assistance to states (RIAS) and long-term irrigation fund (LITF).
The issue was discussed during a meeting of senior state government officials with NABARD chairman GR Chintala, who also met chief minister Naveen Patnaik separately at the latter’s residence. The chief minister emphasised the role of low-cost credit support from NABARD for building disaster resilient rural infrastructure.
During the meeting with state government officials, chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said the state is prepared to implement the projects of worth Rs 5000 crore under RIDF, Rs 4500 crore under RIAS and Rs 500 crore under LITF.
Emphasising the need for more investment, the chief secretary said there is a need for higher investment in rural roads, irrigation, agricultural development, social infrastructure, creation of new livelihood opportunities, agri-business in the post covid scenario.
"With pioneering initiatives and faster performances across the sectors, Odisha has emerged as a rapidly developing state in the last two decades. The state has achieved the highest poverty reduction of 24% in the last decade resulting in the liberation of around 8 million people from the poverty net," said the chief secretary.
Mohapatra said Odisha has become a lead state in the implementation of rural roads, housing, farmers empowerment, women empowerment, skill development, and implementation of investment projects, and attracting new investments.
During the meeting, development commissioner Pradeep Jena underlined the need for the need of more investment for building disaster-resilient infrastructure in the state because of its unique geophysical location which makes it prone to frequent disasters. He said strengthening of flood and saline embankments would ensure the agriculture and allied sector against nature’s fury.
State finance secretary Vishal Dev highlighted the need for more NABARD assistance in financial inclusion and emphasised the need for covering all unbanked GPs either through brick branches or banking correspondents.
The NABARD chairman said Odisha is a lead state in full utilisation of the RIDF fund. “State grew to a place of big industrial and business activities during the last decade,” said Chintala.
He said NABARD will do its best in enhancing its involvement with the state. NABARD has enhanced its RIDF loan from around Rs 2500 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 3000 crore in 2021-22 financial year.