The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has estimated a credit potential of Rs. 2405.55 crores for Meghalaya under priority sector lending for the year 2020-21.
The 2020-21 estimation of Rs. 2405.55 crores hold a lot of significance for Meghalaya which has been largely a credit deficient state with a marginal increase in the credit deposit ratios ranging between 32-37 per cent year after year. The SFP exercise is a culmination of the credit planning exercise which begins at the district level, undertaken by the district development managers of NABARD in close coordination with multiple stakeholders like state government departments, banks, NGOs and farmer groups.
The Chief Secretary, Government of Meghalaya, Shri. M S Rao, who launched the 2020-21 State Focus Paper (SFP) for Meghalaya, urged the banking sector to rise to the challenges and indicated that we are yet to make a significant dent through forums like State Credit Seminar. While indicating that a re-thinking is required, he suggested that we should allow more and more participation from farmers community and have interactions with them. Stressing on the importance of technology in agriculture and the need to increase productivity to address the volume of production in the State, he congratulated the efforts made by Soil and Water Conservation Department, Government of Meghalaya along with NABARD and suggested that entrepreneurship in agriculture is of paramount importance. Association with various Farmers’Union/Groups, etc would enable farmers to understand various schemes available and the importance of credit to meet their financial needs, Shri. M S Rao stressed the fact that the credit-fuelled growth narrative has bypassed large chunks of farming communities in the State and that remedial action in this regard is necessary.
Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Government of Meghalaya, Dr Shakil P Ahammed, indicated that farmers need to be the focal point in all interventions of the State. Making every farmer an entrepreneur in his own stride and encouraging market linkage and value-added products and exploring the potential in mushroom cultivation, apiculture, aquaculture, etc and encouragement in the field of tourism should be a top priority, in the minds of the Bankers, he said.
Major components of 2020-21 SFP are Rs. 683.95 crore for crop loans, Rs. 489.00 crore for agriculture term loans, Rs. 907.49 crore for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector and Rs. 325.10 crore for other priority sector comprising rural housing and education loans.
Expressing concern over the consistently low credit deposit ratio in Meghalaya, Officer-in-charge, NABARD, Shri. Y K Rao said that there was a clear and definite need for the entire banking sector in Meghalaya to focus on primary sectors and indicated that KCC should be provided to all PM Kisan beneficiaries as the same has now been extended to animal husbandry and fisheries farmers also. Taking into consideration the aspect of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022, credit to farmers, self-help groups, joint liability groups, enrolment in E-Shakti Portal, terms loans, rural housing, small transport vehicle loans, etc, were the need of the hour, he said.