National bank for agriculture and rural development, NABARD, has framed a farmer- friendly scheme. It has been designed to protect the small and marginal farmers against exploitation by moneylenders and middlemen.
All the listed commercial banks, regional rural banks (RRBs), state co-operative agriculture and rural development banks have been provided with the basic format of the plan and been asked to construct their own schemes keeping in lines with the format. Nand Gopal Gupta, institutional finance minister affirmed that the scheme would be really helpful for the farmers.
As per the scheme, farmers will be sanctioned a loan up to 25,000 on 12% or 12.5% simple interest provided they do not take any fresh loan from the moneylenders. The farmers willing to avail these loans should not have any default history at any bank. The farmers will have to submit an affidavit on the amount of loan they have obtained from the moneylenders. Nabard will re-finance at least 80% of the loan to the banks.
Farmers will have to pay back the loan in five to seven years after the loan gets sanctioned. The banks have been directed to find out themselves about the farmers who are being exploited by the moneylenders. If a farmer turns up on his own, the banks would have to help him. The head offices of the banks will asses the progress of the scheme.
NABARD has also planned a Rs 300 crore dairy farming project in Himachal Pradesh. According to Nabard's chief general manager S.T Raghuraman, the main thrust of the project would be on strengthening basic infrastructure like purchase of milking machines, cooling units and setting up dairy product transportation facilities.