United Bank to continue agricultural financing policy

June 17th, 2008 - 8:25 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 16 (IANS) United Bank of India (UBI) said Monday that it would continue giving special focus on agricultural financing in West Bengal to help the sharecroppers and tenant farmers. “Banks need to support the agricultural sector of the country. There is a sharp decline in the agricultural sector’s contribution in the GDP (gross domestic product) of the country. It is felt that if the overall GDP growth has to move up to double digit, the agriculture growth has to be improved to at least four percent,” said P.K. Gupta, chairman and managing director of UBI, on the sidelines of a conference here.

According to him, the major problem of financing the farmers is that they do not have any official documents of tenancy.

“Fortunately in West Bengal, we have block land and land reform officers who provide official certification of tenancy,” he added.

He also urged the other states to follow this model.

The State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) in 2007-08 planned to finance 200,000 small farmers to help the agricultural sector grow. But it could finance only 91,000 farmers.

Gupta promised that all eligible farmers would get loan this year.

He said financial inclusion was a challenge for the country as the growth had to touch all sections of the society.

C.K. Dhanuka, chairman of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci)-eastern region council, said: “The fact that the Indian banking sector remained completely untouched by the sub-prime crisis speaks volumes about the risk management system of the Indian banking sector.”

About the lending rates, he said: “There is no plan to change lending rates now.”

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