Bankers told to be proactive in farm sector lending

Last Updated 29 January 2019, 04:33 IST

Days before the interim Budget, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday asked public sector banks to be more proactive in lending to farmers.

His suggestion came amid reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government was preparing for a big pre-election giveaway to the distressed farm sector.

His giveaway, which may or not be the part of interim Budget could cost the exchequer anything above Rs 1 lakh crore.

“Would like banks to become more pro-active in lending to farmers. Would also like them to make retail banking more vibrant,” Goyal said here after meeting state-owned lenders and taking stock of their bad debt situation.

This was the first meeting of Goyal with the lenders after he took over as the interim finance minister. Goyal is expected to present his first Budget on February 1.

Farm pitch

Modi government’s farm pitch comes in the backdrop of agrarian agitations hurting BJP poll prospects in three Hindi heartland states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.

There is a perception that BJP is on the backfoot on the farmers’ front with Congress and other Opposition parties repeatedly raising the issue and painting the NDA government pro-corporate.

Goyal also extended his support to bankers in genuine commercial decisions taken by them.

(Published 28 January 2019, 16:31 IST)

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