Himachal favours lending for protective farming

Shimla, Dec 18 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary P. Mitra on Friday asked the banks to encourage lending for protective farming by promoting setting up of polyhouses — naturally ventilated climate-controlled hothouses — and rejuvenating old apple orchards.

He said the state was laying emphasis on diversification of agriculture and providing irrigation facilities to farmers and encouraging latest farm practices.

Presiding over the state-level bankers committee meeting here, Mitra said 60,000 soil health cards were provided to the farmers against the current fiscal target of 100,000.

He said the government was keen to provide crop insurance and weather-based insurance cover to the farmers and asked the bankers to create awareness among the farmers.

He said the banks have enrolled more than 10 lakh people under social security insurance schemes, which is a good progress.

He praised the banks for providing affordable bank finance under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna.

He said the banks have disbursed loans of more than Rs.427 crore to 25,210 micro entrepreneurs since the launch of scheme in April this year.

UCO Bank managing director R.K. Takkar said the bank’s total business in the state has crossed Rs.1.11 lakh crore in the period ended September 2015 and the total business has grown about 15 percent.

He said banking outreach of per branch population average of 3,511 persons is quite good in the state as compared to national average of 100,000 people.

He said the various banks have a network of 1,955 branches and banking outreach is further expanded by engaging 1,347 business correspondents in remote areas.

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