The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved an interest subvention of 1.5 per cent per annum on short-term agriculture loans up to Rs 3 lakh.
Interest subvention of 1.5 per cent will be provided to lending institutions (Public Sector Banks, Private Sector Bank, Small Finance Banks, Regional Rural Banks, Cooperative Banks and Computerised PACS directly ceded with commercial banks) for the financial year 2022-23 to 2024-25 for lending short term agri-loans up to Rs 3 lakh to the farmers, according to an official statement released after the cabinet meeting.
This increase in Interest Subvention support requires additional budgetary provisions of Rs 34,856 crore for the period of 2022-23 to 2024-25 under the scheme.
"The decision has been taken to ensure adequate credit flow in the agriculture sector," Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said while addressing a media briefing after the cabinet meeting.
An increase in interest subvention will ensure the sustainability of credit flow in the agriculture sector as well as ensure financial health and viability of the lending institutions especially Regional Rural Banks & Cooperative Banks, ensuring adequate agriculture credit in the rural economy.
Banks will be able to absorb the increase in the cost of funds and will be encouraged to grant loans to farmers for short-term agriculture requirements and enable more farmers to get the benefit of agriculture credit. This will also lead to the generation of employment since short-term agri-loans are provided for all activities including Animal Husbandry, Dairying, Poultry, fisheries.
Farmers will continue to avail short-term agriculture credit at an interest rate of 4 per cent per annum while repaying the loan in time.
Ensuring hassle-free credit availability at a cheaper rate to farmers has been the top priority of the Government of India. Accordingly, Kisan Credit Card scheme was introduced for farmers, to empower them to purchase agriculture products and services on credit at any time, according to an official statement released by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
To ensure that the farmers have to pay a minimal interest rate to the bank, the Government of India introduced Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS), now renamed as Modified Interest Subvention Scheme (MISS), to provide short-term credit to farmers at subsidised interest rates.
Under this scheme, short-term agriculture loan upto Rs 3.00 lakh is available to farmers engaged in Agriculture and other allied activities including Animal Husbandry, Dairying, Poultry, fisheries etc. at the rate of 7 per cent per annum.
An additional 3 per cent subvention (Prompt Repayment Incentive - PRI) is also given to the farmers for prompt and timely repayment of loans. Therefore, if a farmer repays his loan on time, he gets credit at the rate of 4 per cent per annum.
For enabling this facility to the farmers, the Government of India provides Interest Subvention (IS) to the Financial Institutions offering this scheme. This support is 100 per cent funded by the Centre, it is also the second largest scheme of DA&FW as per budget outlay and coverage of beneficiaries.
Recently, under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign, over 3.13 Crore farmers have been issued new Kisan Credit Card (KCC) against the target of 2.5 Crore. Special initiatives such as the KCC Saturation Drive for farmers enrolled under PM-KISAN scheme have also simplified the process and documentation involved for getting the KCC sanctioned.
Keeping in view the changing economic scenario, especially increase in the interest rate and lending rates for the financial institutions especially Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks, The Government has reviewed the rate of Interest subvention provided to these Financial Institutions. It is expected that this will ensure adequate credit flow in agriculture sector to the farmer as well as ensure the financial health of lending institutions.
To address this challenge, the Government of India has proactively decided to restore Interest Subvention on short-term agriculture loans to 1.5 per cent for all financial institutions.
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