JAMMU: The Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir today underscored the need for closer involvement of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to emerge as the prime mover of economic growth and development in rural areas.
“It is being increasingly felt that there is urgency for the NABARD to rediscover and intensify its role as the prime mover of economic growth and development for speedy welfare of the farming community at ground level. For this, the NABARD shall have to get more closely involved with the Agriculture and allied Departments of the State Government” the Minister said while speaking at thirty-third (33rd) Foundation Day celebration of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) here today.
Elaborating on the role of NABARD, Mir said the organization has been created for providing undivided attention, forceful direction and pointed focus to the credit problems arising out of integrated rural development and now the Institution shall have to get more closely involved in agriculture and allied sectors.
He said that State Agriculture and Allied Departments have been consistently motivating, mobilizing and incentivizing the farmers and farm women for adoption of improved methods and processes of agricultural production, protection, post harvest technology and marketing in diverse fields since long. This has, no doubt resulted in emergence of a new crop of progressive farmers, private entrepreneurs, Farmers’ Interest Groups, Farmers’ Producers Organizations, etc. who are now tending to grow as an extended arm of the R&D institutions of the State as well as work as agriculture extension functionaries at the grass root level amongst the fellow farmers.
The Minister, while elaborating further, said that the incentives available under many of the State and Central Schemes for farmers and Development Departments are not enough to fulfil the requirements in time and for this the NABARD has a role.
“The establishment of modern seed production farms and godowns, major/minor and micro-irrigation works, seed processing units, structures for protected cultivation of vegetables, flowers, high value crops, mushroom and spawn production units, fruit and vegetable collection centres, marketing and transportation infrastructure, food processing units, food-parks, and supporting infrastructure to meet contingent requirements in the wake of natural calamities etc. require substantial investments to enable adoption of precise technology for quality output” , the Minister said adding that even the farmers growing special products such as Basmati rice, Rajmash, saffron, apple, cherries, strawberries, off-season vegetables, etc., have not been able to harness the actual potential of these crops either on the productivity or quality front.
He said that all these stakeholders need to be made extensively aware about the programmes of NABARD.
“The NABARD must also assist the stakeholders in preparation of relevant project reports so as to facilitate a speedy process of approvals, sanction and release of funds” he suggested.
Seeing much bigger role of NABARD, the Minister said that the State has great expectations from the Institution for promoting sustainable and equitable agriculture and rural prosperity through effective credit support, related services, institution development and other innovative initiatives.
In discharging its role as a facilitator for rural prosperity, NABARD must consider opening of Service and Guidance Centres in the production hubs/ catchments to actively popularize its role, the Minister asserted.
Listing the areas where NABARD can play a role , the Minister said it has to act as a coordinator in the operations of agriculture and rural credit institutions, in extension of assistance to organizations in matters relating to agriculture and rural development, in offering training and research facilities for cooperatives and organizations working in the field of agriculture rural development, helping the state governments in achieving their targets of providing assistance to eligible institutions in agriculture and rural development.
The Minister said that the farmer friendly interventions by Banking sector under the guidance and supervision of NABARD have a crucial role to play in augmenting needful capital investment.
“The NABARD needs to consider chipping in greater financial assistance to the State in keeping with the ground realities” the Minister opined.
“The NABARD will render a yoe-man’s service if it further opens its knowledge, expertise and resources beyond the scope of traditional SHGs and Farmers’ Clubs up to the farmers’ level in complete and cohesive synergy with the State Departments” , Mir added.
Appreciating NABARD’s salient contributions in the sector of small-scale industries, cottage and village industries, handicrafts, rural crafts and other allied economic activities in rural areas with a view to promoting integrated rural development and securing prosperity of rural areas, the Minister said seeing this the expectations of people in agriculture sector have grown manifold and the Government sponsored institutions have to brace up to fulfill their legitimate requirements.
The Minister greeted the Institution on its foundation day and hoped that it would continue to work for the cause of agriculture and rural development with a greater sense of responsibility and conviction.
Shankar A. Pande, Chief General Manager, NABARD, J&K, Regional Office in his welcome address highlighted the various activities undertaken by NABARD in the state. He stated that in addition to providing refinance to banks and supervision of RRBs and Co-operative Banks, NABARD was undertaking other functions such as credit planning, financing and monitoring of rural infrastructure under RIDF, watershed development, microfinance, financial inclusion, implementation of government sponsored schemes, etc.
K. K. Saraf, Regional Director, Reserve Bank of India, in his key note address congratulated all the NABARD for its efforts in the development of agriculture and rural development in the state especially, the role played under micro finance, financial inclusion and covering of farmers under Kisan Credit Card scheme. The role played by NABARD for inclusive growth through watershed, financial inclusion, SHG-Bank linkage, village development, credit planning and other related activities was highly appreciable. The function was attended by senior officials from State Government, SBI, PNB, JKGB, EDB, Coop. Banks, other bankers and all the staff members of NABARD, Jammu.
Ranbir Singh, General Manager, NABARD, J&K, Regional Office offered vote of thanks to the participants.