Centre urged for Rs 1,300 cr from NABARD for Odisha farmers

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Government Friday requested the Centre to ask NABARD to sanction Rs 1,300 crore to Odisha State Cooperative Bank at the earliest so that farmers of the drought hit state are not put into inconvenience in such a situation.

“Although the policy of NABARD stipulates that 45 per cent of the crop loans to be provided by the Cooperative Banks should come as refinance from them to Odisha State Cooperative Bank, the limit falls short of Rs 1300 crore against eligibility norms of NABARD,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a letter to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

He said the chief secretary has already written to the NABARD chairman in this connection but no response has been received so far.

“As I understand, against the programme of Rs 10,000 crore for disbursement of crop loans by Cooperative Banks, NABARD has sanctioned a refinance of Rs 3,200 crore only,” Patnaik said.

Stating that the farmers affected by drought have been sensitised by the state government to go for cultivation of various crops during the current Rabi season, he said it is expected that the Cooperative Banks should provide them with adequate credit for the purpose.

Therefore, NABARD refinance is essentially required to enable the Cooperative banks led by Odisha State Cooperative Bank to cope with the credit requirements of the drought affected farming community, the chief minister said.

Noting that kharif crops in 215 of 314 blocks have sustained extensive damage due to prevalent drought condition, he said the state government has decided to provide fresh loans to farmers in drought affected areas without recovering the loans advanced during Kharif 2015.

Stating that cooperative banks in the state have been playing a pivotal role in dispensation of crop loans, as around 70 per cent of the credit for the purpose is provided by these organisations, Patnaik said since the resources of the cooperative banks are limited, they depend on NABARD refinance for the purpose.