Kohima, March 10: With 70% of the State’s population directly or indirectly involved in agriculture as the primary source of livelihood, the one-day state credit seminar 2023-24 today stressed on the need for bankers to improve the ground level credit to the agri & allied sectors for economic uplift.
Speaking at the seminar organized by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Nagaland Region Office, Dimapur at de Oriental Grand here, Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) and DG ATI, R Binchilo Thong, said NABARD prepares Potential Linked Credit Plans (PLP) for all the districts of the country by way of analytical assessment of the potential and infrastructure support services required in the district with a purpose to improve Ground Level Credit (GLC) flow in priority sector.
These PLPs are a step towards decentralised credit planning with the objective of mapping the potential for development under priority sector with institutional credit support, he said.
In this, Thong expressed concern about low penetration of bank branches saying that 25 Rural Development blocks out of 74 blocks in Nagaland remain unbanked.
The CD ratio in the State has seen a major improvement over past years but it needs to further improve upto the minimum of 60% with organic growth in both deposits and advances, he said.
Noting that GLC flow is around 80.78% of the target set under Priority Sector in the last financial year, he urged the banker’s community to step up the good work to achieve 100% of the annual target.
He said that the Government of India has raised the all-India agriculture credit target to Rs 20 lakh crore for FY 2023-24, 11% hike from the target of Rs 18 lakh earmarked in FY 2022-23.
Thong said that Nagaland has good climate, fertile soil, adequate rainfall, abundance of Pineapple, Ginger, Cardamom, Kiwi, Dragon Fruit, Banana, bamboo shoot, Leafy Vegetables, Forest honey etc. which are conducive for value chain development and above all, the micro-enterprises have enough potential to provide employment opportunities in the State.
The APC urged the banking fraternity to come forward with wholeheartedness to improve the GLC flow in the State by way of bulk lending to farmers through federations/cooperative societies, Joint Liability Group/ Farmers Producers Organisation financing, Area Development Schemes and Value-chain financing, Agro-forestry & Eco-tourism, Cluster approach for MSME sector and SHG Bank-linkage programme-outreach etc.
Thong also urged the line departments to extend adequate cooperation to the bankers saying that while credit can give a boost to development, the government has a responsibility to create an enabling environment for the bankers.
On the occasion, Thong also released the State Focus Paper (SFP)-2023-24.
Delivering the inaugural address, NABARD Nagaland Region Office, General Manager & OIC, Tiakala Ao said NABARD Nagaland is primarily an agrarian State where agriculture plays a significant role in the economy of the state with about 70% of the State’s population directly or indirectly involved in agriculture as the primary source of livelihood for the majority of the rural people.
Prioritising the agricultural sector in Nagaland will give a push to the growth of the State’s economy, she said, adding that given the strong inter-linkages of the agricultural sector with the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy, prioritising agriculture sector may be crucial to fuel economic growth.
Saying that bank credit is an important component for economic transformation and forms the backbone of development planning in the State, she said while it is important that bank credit is extended to all sectors of the economy, it is crucial that for an agrarian state like Nagaland, bank credit should be directed towards certain key sectors that will usher in economic transformation in the State.
The key sectors for Nagaland where bank credit should be directed are in the agriculture and allied sectors, and the MSME sectors, she said.
She said that the State Focus Paper for Nagaland for the FY 2023-24 presents a comprehensive picture of the potentials available for development of the various activities under agriculture and the rural sector, the availability of inputs including credit, infrastructure and other linkages for tapping the potential during the next financial year i.e. 2023-24.
The SFP provides indications to the State government of the various policy and operational measures necessary to be taken for creating a conducive climate for sustainable development of the priority sectors, she said.
The SFP also provides the bankers with the information relating to various activities of the priority sector and the opportunities available for making further investments, she said.
The State Focus Paper, Tiakala said, will serve as a guide for stakeholders in the rural credit sector to identify the areas that need more attention and focus.
The Managing Director also urged the members of the Banking fraternity to play a proactive role and double their efforts in improving the credit flow to all sectors.
Specially requesting to focus on the agriculture and allied sector in their credit programmes, she said this sector still engages the largest workforce in the state.
The SFP has assessed a credit potential of Rs. 1015.39 crore for the priority sectors for the year 2023-24 of which Rs. 514.11 crores has been assessed for disbursement under the agriculture and allied sector.
Representatives from banks, SHGs and other other organizations participated in the seminar where presentations were made on International Year of Millets – Government’s perspective and expectations; Impact of springshed based watershed development in various districts of Nagaland; Promoting integrated livelihood development under NABARD’s Tribal Development Fund etc.
(Page News Service)