Centre formulates guidelines to provide easy loans to NE farmers

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Agartala, Nov 21 (UNI) The Centre has initiated steps to provide easy loans to farmers in consultation with the RBI and NABARD.

Official sources said here today that under the Agri-Clinic and Agri-Business Centre Scheme, the Centre had announced credit-linked capital subsidy of 33.33 per cent capital cost of the project in respect of candidates from the NE and other hill states as well as SC/ST, women and other disadvantaged sections.

It also pointed out that banks had been advised to simplify the procedure for documentation for agricultural loans while credit up to Rs 50,000 was made collateral and margin-free.

The government also lowered the interest rates on crop loans to seven per cent with an upper limit of Rs three lakh on the principal amount with effect from the Kharif season, 2006-07, which has been extended to 2007-08, officials said, adding that the banks had been advised to provide all eligible farmers with Kisan Credit Cards for hassle-free access to credit.

To improve the outreach among the poor and informal sector, the SHG-Bank linkage programme was intensified, particularly in 13 priority states - Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarth, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal - with vast majority of the rural poor, officials underlined.

Meanwhile, as part of the measures announced by the RBI for financial inclusion, banks had been advised to open no-frills accounts and issue simple overdraft facility against such accounts, including general credit cards up to Rs 25,000 without insisting on security and end use of funds.

The banks were asked to undertake, on a pilot basis, 100 per cent financial inclusion in at least one district in each state and based on the success of the pilot project, the state-level bankers committee would draw a time bound plan for achieving 100 per cent financial inclusion in other districts of the state, officials added.

UNI

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