The government on Thursday said 2.5 crore farmers, including fishermen and those involved in animal husbandry, would get Rs 2 lakh crore of concessional credit through Kisan Credit Cards under its economic stimulus package.
Announcing relief measures for small and marginal farmers hit by the COVID-19 crisis, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said an additional Rs 30,000 crore emergency working capital funding would be provided by Nabard which will benefit around 3 crore farmers.
The Rs 30,000 crore funding is over and above the Rs 90,000 crore to be provided by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) through the normal refinance route during this year
“Nabard will extend additional refinance support of Rs 30,000 crore for crop loan requirement of rural co-op banks and RRBs (regional rural banks). This will help meet post-harvest (Rabi) and current Kharif requirement in May/June,” the minister said.
With regard to Rs 2 lakh crore concessional credit to farmers, the minister said a special drive will be undertaken to provide credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards.
“This will enable such farmers to gain access to institutional credit at a concessional interest rate. Fishermen and animal husbandry farmers will also be included in this drive,” Sitharaman said.
Announcing the second set of measures under the Rs 20 lakh crore COVID-19 economic stimulus package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sitharaman said more steps would be announced for farmers in the coming days.
“On farmers, for example, it is not that we are doing only two steps, nothing more. There will be more, but today I am bringing in two.
“In each of the package we will keep in mind and prioritise the concerns related to migrant workers, poor, those who are in need and that will continue. If I have not spoken about a certain thing today, it is not as if Government of India has forgotten. Not at all,” she said.
Recalling the measures taken by the government for farmers post imposition of lockdown on March 25, she said 3 crore farmers with agricultural loans of Rs 4.22 lakh crore availed the benefit of three-months loan moratorium.
Also, interest subvention and prompt repayment incentive on crop loans, due from March 1, has been extended up to May 31, 2020.
Further, 25 lakh new Kisan Credit Cards have been sanctioned with a loan limit of Rs 25,000 crore.
Also, 63 lakh loans of Rs 86,600 crore have been approved in agriculture between March 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020. Nabard has provided refinancing of Rs 29,500 crore to cooperative banks and RRBs in March 2020.
Support of Rs 4,200 crore has been provided under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund to states during March for rural infrastructure.
Besides, working capital limit of Rs 6,700 crore has been sanctioned for procurement of agriculture produce to state government entities since March 2020.
PwC India, Leader – food and agriculture, Ajay Kakra said, “The initiative to boost credit of Rs 2 lakh crore to increase coverage of 2.5 lakh farmers under KCC will surely increase the credit umbrella and help increase their liquidity issue given the acute cash crunch during COVID situation.”