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Ease of doing business, applicable to industry, should also be incorporated in the agriculture sector, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Thursday.
He was addressing the 151st State Level Bankers Committee meeting, where an annual credit plan of Rs 4.6 lakh crore for 2021-22 was approved for Maharashtra. Of this, the agriculture sector gets Rs 1.18 lakh crore. Crop loans worth Rs 60,860 crore were also sanctioned at the meet.
Emphasising the state’s agriculture policy – ‘Vikel te Pikel (sow the crops that sell)’ – Thackeray stressed on the need for better planning and marketing to boost the agriculture sector. “The IMD has predicted a good monsoon this year. Therefore, banks should ensure farmers receive crop loans in time,” he said.
Referring to the state’s zero interest scheme on crop loan up to Rs 3 lakh to farmers who repay the money on time, Thackeray directed the banks to note the enhanced amount. In the 2021-22 Budget Session of the state Assembly, the government had announced the incentive for farmers who have not defaulted on crop loan repayment. The zero interest crop loan amount was increased from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh.
At the meeting, Deputy CM and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar said: “Banks must provide crop loans to farmers without delay ahead of kharif sowing season.” Pointing to financial crunch faced by district cooperative banks in Nagpur, Nanduebar, Dhule, Buldhana, Beed, Nashik and Osmanabad districts, Pawar directed NABARD to assist them.