Bankers aim at disbursing Rs 50,000 cr agri loans in Bengal

Kolkata, June 19 : Banks are targeting at disbursing Rs 50,000 crore of agricultural credit to farmers in West Bengal during the current fiscal and the State Level Bankers' Committee (SLBC) is also planning to bring "uncovered" farm households in the state into the banking fold, an official said on Tuesday.

"Agricultural credit of Rs 44,000 crore was sanctioned by the banks in 2017-18 and banks are targeting at disbursing about Rs 50,000 crore worth of agricultural loans in 2018-19 (FY19)," United Bank of India's (UBI) Executive Director Ashok Kumar Pradhan said.

United Bank of India is the convener of the SLBC in West Bengal.

According to him, the state has close to 52 lakh "active" farm households and of them, only around 37 lakh have been issued Kisan Credit Card till date.

"As per the Census, there are close to 71 lakh farm households in the state.

However, of these only around 52 lakh are active. We have been able to cover only 37 lakh farm households so far," he said.

The SLBC sought assistance to the state government for helping the lenders for identifying these farm households to bring them under the banking fold.

"A sub-committee under the SLBC has been formed and a meeting will probably be convened in July to draw a roadmap on how to bring 15 lakh additional uncovered farm households in the banking fold," Pradhan said after the SLBC review meeting.

He also said the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana helped covering all marginal farmers and this is giving an impetus to them to come into the banking fold.

Lenders are hopeful that inclusions of 15 lakh more farm households will not only boost the agricultural loan disbursements, but will also boost the credit-deposit (CD) ratio of the state.

The CD ratio of West Bengal at 65 per cent is still far behind many other states.

The target would be to increase this to 67-68 per cent by the end of this fiscal, he said.

"The poor CD ratio of the state has always been a problem.

We expect an uptick in demand from MSME and agriculture sector and this should help boost the ratio," he added



Source: IANS