New Delhi, June 23 : National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has recorded a spectacular performance by releasing an assistance of Rs. 3652 crore to the cooperative sector during 2007-08, thus exceeding its target of Rs. 2000 crore comprehensively.
Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution while presiding over NCDC's 66th General Council meeting here today said that NCDC is expecting a pre-tax profit of Rs. 130 crore which is substantially higher than that in the previous fiscal.
While speaking on the steps taken by the Government to address the difficulties of the farming community, especially the small and marginal farmers, Pawar said: 'The Government has announced a Rs.71680 crore agricultural debt waiver and debt relief scheme for farmers covering direct agricultural loans.'
The Scheme which is the first of its kind since independence, is expected to benefit about 4.3 crore farmers.
"The Government has also identified 237 districts in 18 states where productivity is quite low as these are in desert and drought prone areas," he said while adding, " Farmers of these areas would be eligible for a minimum loan relief of Rs. 20,000 each even if his land holding was above two hectares."
The other major initiative taken by the Government includes significantly raising minimum support price for various crops, rehabilitation package of Rs. 16,979 crore for 31 suicide prone districts and formulation of National Policy on Farmers.
Pawar expressed satisfaction that the initiatives taken by the Government have started facilitating a turnaround of the agricultural economy.
The country has achieved an all time record production in major crops like rice, wheat, maize, tur (a variety of pulse) and cotton and the agriculture growth rate is estimated at around 4.5 per cent for 2007-08.
The higher agriculture growth will push the gross domestic product growth rate to nine per cent from the initial estimate of 8.7 per cent, Pawar said.
The Minister also informed the General Council that the Central Government and the State Governments have reached an agreement on the content of the package to implement Vaidyanathan Committee's report on reviving the long-term cooperative credit structure.
The cost of the package is estimated at Rs. 3,074 crore of which the Central Government's share will be 2,642 crore or 86 per cent of the total burden.