Odisha CM writes to Jaitley for NABARD funds

Bhubaneswar, Dec 11 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday requested union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to intervene in getting NABARD to sanction Rs.1300 crore in favour of the Odisha State Cooperative Bank for the benefit of drought-hit farmers.

Patnaik urged Jaitley to direct NABARD to sanction the amount early so that Odisha farmers are not put to inconvenience at a time when drought situation has prevailed in the state.

“My government has decided to provide fresh loans to the farmers in the drought-affected areas without recovering the loans advanced during Kharif 2015. The cooperative banks have been playing a pivotal role in dispensation of crop loans as around 70 percent of the credit for the purpose is provided by these organisations,” the chief minister said.

He said since the resources of the cooperative banks were limited, by and large, they depend upon NABARD refinance for the purpose.

“As I understand, against the programme of Rs.10,000 crore for disbursement of crop loans by the cooperative banks, NABARD has sanctioned a refinance limit of Rs.3200 crore only,” Patnaik said.

“Although the policy of NABARD stipulates that 45 percent of the crop loans to be provided by the cooperative banks should come as refinance from them to the Odisha State Cooperative Bank, the limit sanctioned falls short of Rs.300 crore against eligibility norms stipulated by NABARD,” said the chief minister.

He said the chief secretary has already written a letter to the NABARD chairman on November 7, but so far no response has been received.

The drought condition prevalent in Odisha has caused extensive damage to the Kharif crops in 215 out of 314 blocks in the state, Patnaik said.

NABARD refinance is essentially required to enable the state’s cooperative banks, led by the Odisha State Cooperative Bank, to cope with the credit requirements of the drought-affected farming community, he added.

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