Maharashtra: Farmers Stranded as Cooperative Banks Lag in Grant Loans

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Maharashtra farmers are struggling to raise money to cover the cost of growing harif, and several district cooperative banks have yet to pay off a 50 percent crop loan.

So far, against the state government’s target of Rs 13,923.10 crores, the cooperative banks have collectively paid off only Rs 9,210.17 crores, or 66.15% of the crop loan for the crop. Claiming that it was impossible to reach a 100 percent target by the end of June, officials from the cooperation and marketing department attributed the failure to reach the Rs 4,712 crore (33.85 percent) target by the poor financial position of at least half a dozen banks.

In the Vidarbha area, the Wardha District Cooperative Bank has not provided a single rupee in loan for this season’s harvest to Harifa. The bank has set a zero target due to the huge financial problem, officials said. To meet the demand of farmers in the area, the state government called on the district collector to attract commercial and rural banks.

Despite a small target of Rs 91.35 crore, the Nagpur District Central Cooperative Bank is also lagging behind with only 42.89% of the crop loan issued so far.

In neighboring Bhandar, the district cooperative bank provided 97 percent of the crop loan, while its counterparts in Chandrapur and Yawatmal allocated 89 percent of each targeted crop loan. There are 11 district cooperative banks in the Vidarbha district, where the main crops are soybeans, cotton and tur.

In the Maratwada region, the Bid County Central Cooperative Bank disbursed just Rs 45.23 crore in crop loans against a target of Rs 208 crores, or just 21 percent. At least three other cooperative banks in the region, in the Khingoli, Jalna and Aurangabad districts, have disbursed about 50 percent, well behind their banks in Parbhani (83 percent), Latura (78 percent) and Osmanabad (72 percent). ). percent).

In the western part of Maharashtra, which is a more prosperous sugar belt, the Sangli District Cooperative Bank has allocated a 35 percent or Rs 347 crore targeted crop loan of Rs 1,015 crores. However, the bank assured that it would speed up the process and meet the needs of farmers within a week.

The performance of the district cooperative banks in the Konkan coastal region has been dismal, with the bank in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg meeting only 4.10% and 9.23% of its Kharif lending targets.

In general, repayments of crop loans by district cooperative banks in Tana, Palgar and Raigada range from 40 to 60 percent.

A senior official in the cooperative department said: “Of the total number of cooperative banks in 31 districts in Maharashtra, the Central Cooperative Bank of Mumbai District does not issue crop loans to rural areas as it mainly serves the urban population. Thus, the crop loan process is handled through the remaining 30 cooperative banks. We left out Wardha Bank as it failed financially. Thus, we have only 29 operating cooperative banks left ”.

Of the 1.56 million farmers in the state, about 69,000 will use the loan to grow crops, the official said. “For the first time, Maharashtra Minister of Cooperation and Marketing Balasaheb Patil has set not only a crop loan goal, but also a goal for farmers to ensure greater accountability in the system,” he said.

Patil previously called on all district cooperative banks to prioritize providing loans to farmers for growing crops. “Farmers rely heavily on cooperative banks to raise money during the Harifa season. Among COVID-19 pandemic, there were many restrictions and hardships. Taking all these aspects into account, cooperative banks should make additional efforts to maximize their lending to farmers, especially those in the small and marginalized category. ”

More than 100% of the loan issued

The Dule and Nabdurbar District Cooperative Banks in Northern Maharashtra stand out, issuing loans for growing crops at 112.83% and 161.40%, respectively. Dhule Cooperative Bank awarded a crop loan of Rs 135 crores against a target of Rs 120 crores. Whereas, Nandurbar Cooperative Bank exceeded the established target of Rs 51 crore by granting a loan of Rs 83 crores to farmers for farming in Harifa.

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