Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman has directed the banking sector in Nagaland to conduct outreach programs in all 16 districts of Nagaland starting from 1 September till 30 November. She said this while addressing the inaugural function of the Bankers Conclave, today here at Cultural Hall, Kohima.
The finance minister while lauding the state for achieving their targets in various schemes of the Central government pointed out that Nagaland state, which has nearly 70% of the population in the agricultural occupation, has not been able to achieve the target set for the Kisan Credit Card scheme. She said the total Kisan Credit Card target for Nagaland was 2.3 lakh beneficiaries; however, the state has been able to reach out to only 70,927 beneficiaries.
Sitharaman said the prime minister has further extended the reach of the KCC not just to farmers but now also to people who rear livestock and fisheries, adding that they will have to be benefited under Animal husbandry component or fisheries component.
“The name is Kisan Credit card but it is now in that not just the person who works on the land and cultivates crops but it shall also cover those who keep livestock and those who also do fisheries,” she said.
Stating this, the finance minister directed the Nagaland banking sector to walk the extra mile and identify all eligible individuals from all the 16 districts by conducting outreach programs with the help of local representatives and district administration. She also called upon the chief minister to extend support by using the state machinery in each district to identify the eligible persons.
“I am taking the banks to go and look for these people through the local representatives but I want the district administration to also ensure that you identify such people who are eligible and not random, anyone”, the finance minister added.
Sitharaman also gave specific directions to the banks for the conduct of the outreach program and it has also set a time frame of 2 months starting from 1 September to 30 November 2022 to complete this task.
She said, “Before 30 November which is one month or 25 days before Christmas, I want every eligible person who wants to be assisted through these schemes to be reached out. Saturate by district, ensure you need to have more banking correspondence because of the success of banking correspondence way of dealing with way of things, if necessary and wherever necessary, and third, outreach by district to commence by 1 September. So that, you announce well in time in which districts you together as all banks focus on one district, finish it and then move in the next district. Use every medium for announcement so that people know,” and added that these are ways in which the banking sector can reach to every citizen so that everyone can contribute to the economy.
Chief Minsiter Neiphiu Rio in his address expressed his happiness that through this credit outreach, the banks will be extending credit of Rs 223 crore under various schemes as well as retail loans to people of Nagaland. He said the launching of the Mobile ATM Van sanctioned to Nagaland Rural Bank, the launch of two projects under Tribal Development Fund, and the virtual inauguration of Axis Bank branches and Chessore Branch of Nagaland Rural Bank in Shamator District will help in meeting the existing demand for formal banking services in the State and these initiatives would also boost the Credit Deposit ratio for the State, which was hovering at around 50 percent, much below the RBI benchmark of 60 percent.
Rio said a large proportion of the credit by banks, other than that extended under various government schemes, has been for consumer goods or housing loans. He said while this is essential, it is also imperative to increase the credit flow to those who require it for running their enterprises, adding that this is a critical area where banks have to put in more efforts and the State Government is ready to support the banks and address their concerns.
On the launch of the Chief Minister’s Micro Finance Initiative, Rio said the initiative will make credit more affordable and available to individuals, Self Help Groups and Farmer Producer Organisation. He hoped that through the CMMFI the state will have an additional credit of Rs 200–Rs 250 crores disbursed during the year which will further help increase incomes of farmers, promote credit discipline, encourage private enterprise and improve the agri marketing network and infrastructure in the state. He also hoped that all the banks, including the private banks, will utilize the initiative effectively.
Stating that the state government has been supporting private banks to expand their credit base, he said, that private banks are also expected to expand their network of branches, and not only limit to Dimapur and Kohima. He further urged them to cover the remoter towns, especially the unbanked 26 of the 74 blocks in the state.
During the Bankers Conclave, the Chief Minister Micro Finance Initiative was jointly launched by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. She also handed over cheques of 11 major schemes of total value of Rs 205 crores to 3,422 borrowers. The cheques were handed over to 5 representative borrowers representing each scheme.
Sitharaman also virtually inaugurated the branch of Nagaland Rural Bank at Chessore in Shamator District, Nagaland, and launched two projects under Tribal Development fund of NABARD.
The announcement of 100% saturation was also made of all eligible farmers under Kisan Credit Card (KCC) in two project areas in Wokha and Phek district by Nagaland State Cooperative Bank, and Small Industries development Bank of India (SIDBI) also exchanged MoU with Investment and Development Authority of Nagaland (IDAN).