Farm loan target fixed at Rs 5.75 lakh crore: Chidambaram
Karaikudi (TN): Disbursal of agricultural loans has been on the rise under the UPA regime and the target for this fiscal has been fixed at Rs 5.75 lakh crore, an increase of Rs 1,00,000 crore over the previous year, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Saturday.
'We have set a target of disbursing Rs 5,75,000 crore (loans) during this year (2012-13),' he said inaugurating the new building of Rural Training Centre jointly set up by Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and NABARD at nearby Amaravathipudur in his native Sivaganga District.
Noting that the UPA Government had set a farm sector credit target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore in 2004 when he was the then Finance Minister, he said 'The disbursal of agricultural loans had gradually increased to Rs 4.75 lakh crore in 2011-12'.
He said the bankers, during his recent interaction with him soon after he assumed office as Finance Minister, assured him of disbursing Rs six lakh crore agricultural loans this year.
Chidambaram appealed to the villagers gathered at the function to learn one non-farming activity apart from farming.
''We cannot depend on rain for the whole year for agriculture. Besides farming, you should also learn a non-farming activity like embroidery, cell phone servicing, sheep and dairy management. It is where these Rural Training Centres come into play'', he said.
'This RTC is one of an important scheme to generate additional income for you,' he said.
Chidambaram also expressed concern that the ground water level was depleting these days due to climate change and a farmer was forced to dig 500 metres or even 1000 metres depth for water for irrigation.
Observing that agriculture had become a 'difficult' business, he said a country like India cannot expect to import essential food grains. 'We need to produce food grains on our own for a country like ours instead of depending on imports (of food grains),' he said.