K'taka Chief Secretary seeks banks' support for peasants

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Bangalore, Feb 13 (UNI) Karnataka Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao today stressed the need for the banking sector to come to the rescue of the farming community, facing distress due to a variety of factors like weather aberrations and increasing debt burden for money borrowed from private money lenders.

In his presidential address at a State Credit seminar here, he said the woes of the ryots would have to be mitigated in a systematic way by tuning the efforts of various developmental agencies like banks, NGOs and universities to ensure that the large segment of population living in rural areas get a fair deal.

Agriculture sector in the State faced many problems such as limited scope for extending cultivated areas, fragmented land holdings, land degradations and depletion of soil fertility, water shortage for irrigation due to fall in ground water table, irrational use of water, disparities in yield rates across crops and regions and limited availability of infrastructure support, he said.

Mr Rao advocated that the State, together with the banking system, should look for ways to enable the mature SHGs to take up micro enterprises to begin with and slowly graduate to other economic enteprises.

''This also calls for a fresh agenda to operationalise the comprehensive district agriculture plans, strengthening of the extension mechanism to deliver the desired results, and non-farm sector,'' he said.

NABARD Regional General Manager H N V Prasad said it had identified potential for extending credit to the extent of Rs 24,620 crore in the State in 2008-09 as against Rs 20,907 crore estimated for the previous year.

UNI SIV BJR HT1635

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