Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday called for full digitisation of all rural regional banks and expansion of credit to farmers while launching three new initiatives to strengthen access of cultivators to financial services.
At an event at Pusa complex, which was also attended by agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Sitharaman launched the Kisan Rin Portal, unveiled a campaign to cover all beneficiaries of the PM Kisan cash-transfer programme under the Kisan credit card scheme and an integrated agricultural weather portal.
The Kisan Rin Portal, developed in collaboration with multiple government departments, is a digital platform that will offer comprehensive data on financial services offered to farmers, including information on loan disbursement, interest subvention claims and utilization, which will be integrated with banks for efficient disbursal of agriculture credit.
“We must remember that even during the Covid lockdown period, it was the agricultural community, the farming community and the rural community that kept us going. With whatever precaution farmers could take, they ensured that the nation’s food security did not suffer and agricultural growth helped the economy,” the finance minister said.
Sitharaman, in her speech, asked the secretary of the department of financial services Vivek Joshi, who also attended the event, to ensure full cooperation of all banks of the country in providing data and information to the Kisan Rin Portal.
The finance minister also called upon the department, which comes under her ministry, to ensure speedy digitisation of rural regional banks and improve credit disbursal by cooperative banks.
“When I look at data of sanction and disbursal of credit to farmers of scheduled commercial banks and cooperative banks, one sees a lack of correlation. I want the disbursal rate of credit of cooperative banks to farmers go up,” Sitharaman said.
The finance minister said after the creation of a separate ministry for cooperation, a massive project for digitisation of the sector was currently on. She commended the agriculture minister for coming up with a Kisan Rin portal within four months of its conception.
The agriculture minister said “under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and with the generosity of the finance minister, the budgetary allocation to agriculture ministry had gone up several time to ₹1.41 lakh crore”.
Launching the Ghar Ghar KCC Abhiyaan to achieve universal financial inclusion of farmers by end of December, the finance minister said there was “no shortage of money for farmers” but called upon officials to robustly implement all agricultural schemes.
Sitharaman also launched WINDS or Weather Information Network Data Systems, which will serve as a one-stop online platform for all information related to agricultural meteorology.