New Delhi: Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday sought a status report on farm credit disbursal with details like profile of beneficiaries and list of defaulters in the wake of a sharp hike in agri-credit target to Rs 7 lakh crore.
"What percentage of small and marginal farmers have taken farm loan? Which states are lagging behind? What is the percentage of defaulters?" Pawar asked an official dealing with farm credit in the Kharif Conference here.
We need know who is benefitting and who are defaulters, Pawar said and asked for a detailed status report.
Pawar's directive comes a day after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) finding a number of shortcomings in implementation of the Rs 52,000-crore farm debt waiver scheme.
In a report tabled in Parliament, CAG has pointed out that thousands of beneficiaries were not eligible while those eligible were denied the benefits of the scheme.
Giving the minister details on farm loan borrowers, Joint Secretary R K Tiwari said small and marginal farmers comprise 52 percent. The coverage can be increased if kisan credit card is made available to them.
North East and Eastern states are lagging behind in availing farm credit, he added.
In the 2013-14 Budget, the government has proposed to increase the farm credit target to Rs 7,00,000 crore for next fiscal, from Rs 5,75,000 crore for the current fiscal.
Later addressing the Kharif conference, Pawar asked the central and state officials to formulate comprehensive strategies and plans for accelerating and sustaining momentum of agriculture growth during the ensuing kharif season and during the 12th Five Year Plan.
"...Agriculture and allied sector has to perform well this year if the Indian economy has to rebound and move along the projected growth trajectory to realise overall GDP growth target of 8 percent during 12th Plan," he said.
The reason for this is that the agriculture has to not only ensure the food and nutritional security of the national but also contribute to growth story and facilitate inclusive growth and aid inflation control, he added.
Expressing concern about declining water availability for agriculture, he asked state governments to give thrust on water management and ensure 'Livestock Mission' makes visible impact during the current plan to provide supplementary income to farmers.
The efforts to bridge yield gaps should be taken on a bigger scale and focus should switch beyond Eastern India to tap potential of North East India especially in horticulture and commercial crops like rubber and oil palm, he added.
Separately addressing farmers at Krishi Vighyan mela organised by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pawar emphasised the need to develop new farm technologies to ensure food and nutritional security in the country.
He said high yielding varieties in pulses and oilseeds are necessary for achieving self-sufficiency and reduce import dependence. Drought-resistant varieties also need to be developed to address the challenges of climate change.