BHUBANESWAR: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday lauded the role of Nabard for its consistent support to the State in the field of agriculture and rural development. Addressing the 37th foundation day function of the national bank here, Pradhan applauded the bank for significantly increasing the developmental financial assistance to the State in the last two financial years. Drawing the attention of banks to the huge gap between crop loan and agricultural term loan, the Union Minister was critical about the vicious circle of compounding of crop loan at bank level without adding much to the fresh agricultural short-term loan.
He urged banks to strive to ensure an ecosystem in the State where problems relating to farmers and small entrepreneurs can be addressed by effectively implementing various schemes of the Centre and State Government and initiatives like MUDRA loan and Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO). As majority of the State’s population depends on agriculture- based activities, there is immense scope for the banks to broad-based agriculture lending in the State.
“With the increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of major food grains, there is fear of inflationary trend in the economy. But we have to maintain a balance between the welfare of farmers and also health of the economy. Hence, there is a need to go for massive value-addition in agriculture to tackle the twin problem,” he said. In order to achieve the goal of doubling farmer’s income by 2022, Pradhan said the Centre has initiated schemes like e-NAM.
All the agri-marts, registered mandis, regulated market committee (RMCs) set up in the State must link themselves to e-NAM portal to reap the benefits. Nabard can play a catalytic role in this regard, he added. Briefly narrating the journey of the bank in the last 36 years, Chief General Manager of Nabard K C Panigrahi highlighted its major achievements in the State. He listed out the priority areas for Nabard during the current year, which includes augmentation of rural credit, formation and functioning of producer organisations and raising farm income through building partnerships.