Kolkata: West Bengal government on Tuesday launched a financial inclusion campaign with banks and cooperatives to ensure farmers start banking and avail loans.
State Agriculture Minister Purnendu Basu said the government is mobilising 14,000 business correspondents who will take Kisan Credit Card (KCC) to the doorsteps of the farmers.
Farmers have not been able to utilise the benefits provided by KCC due to lack of awareness.
“For small farmers the biggest problem is capital. There are problems in banks in giving them loans. We want to make this process easy and increase awareness.
“The campaign will ensure that the marginal and small farmers in the state get access to both credit and insurance on favourable terms. If we can improve the off-take of crop loans close to its real potential, we could have contributed significantly to the farmers’ income,” Basu said.
As per a NABARD report, against a potential loan of Rs 50,000 crore, the current disbursement of farmers’ loan is approximately Rs 12,000 crore which suggests that there is possibility to raise the figure by at least two to three times.
If the KCC loan is repaid on time, the interest rate is only 4 per cent per annum.
Officials said a large number of KCC is lying dormant and the government wants to convince farmers to use them.
The fortnight-long campaign by the state will highlight benefits of KCC and Bangla Fasal Bima Yojna by educating farmers on how they can make best use of the schemes.
The second phase of the campaign will be held from Nov 28.
Officials said during the last financial year 10 lakh new KCC were issued and farmers took average loan of Rs 38,000.
Next year, the government plans to bring another 15 lakh farmers into the KCC fold, they added.