SLBC continues loan facility to fruit growers

Aimed at helping grape, pomegranate farmers in despair

The State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC), on Wednesday, resolved to continue to provide loans to distress ridden grape and pomegranate farmers and reschedule their pending dues including principal amount and interest.

The 128th meeting of SLBC took the decision as a relief measure for grape and pomegranate farmers who have suffered crop losses following drought and pest attacks.

The meeting resolved that pending dues from around 23,300 farmers totalling Rs 1,373 crore would be rescheduled.

Briefing reporters, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said due to drought conditions in grape-growing districts of Bijapur, Bagalkot and Belgaum, grape orchards had dried up.  

Pomegranate crop has been affected by bacterial blight successively for last six to seven years. These farmers can avail new loans and switch to other crops, he said.Earlier, Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee urged bankers to continue line of credit to farmers. 

“They are not willful defaulters but victims of climatic conditions”, he said.

He urged bankers to simplify procedures like account opening and loan dispersement to ensure financial inclusion of all.

In his keynote, Syndicate Bank Executive Director M Anjaneya Prasad said a comprehensive financial inclusion programme would be relaunched on August 15 across the State. 

The programme will cover 7.5 crore households, comprising six crore in rural areas and 1.5 crore in urban areas. One bank account will be opened per household. The first phase will include banking facility, basic bank account and financial literacy programme. 

The second phase would include creation of credit guarantee fund, micro insurance and pension scheme for unorganised sector.

He said banks in the State had disbursed Rs 21,663 crore during the first quarter of the fiscal against the annual target of Rs 89,821 crore.

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