West Bengal to double issue of Kisan Credit Cards

October 23rd, 2008 - 9:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Oct 23 (IANS) The West Bengal government will double the issue of Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) to farmers from the current 1.5 million by the end of the five year plan period, a top bureaucrat said here Thursday.The agriculture department has already asked the principal agriculture officers of the state to start issuing KCC, Agriculture Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said here on the sidelines of the Confederation of Indian Industry-Young Indians (CII-YI) Agro Max Conference 2008.

“According to Nabard (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) credit rating, the state requires Rs.15,000 crore (Rs.150 billion) infusion of credit in the agriculture sector. But till date, Rs.3,000-Rs.4,000 crore (Rs.30-Rs.40 billion) on credit is only pumped in. There is an unmet demand,” Chopra said.

At present, nearly 1.5 million KCCs have been given to the farmers in the state and the government wants the number to touch 3 million by the end of the plan period.

Talking about the agricultural health of the state, he said the agricultural condition was good and the markets were fairly established and the demand-supply position was almost okay. There is no farmer suicide in the state.

“Things in Bengal as far as rural prosperity is concerned is quite okay,” Chopra said.

“Given the size of the land holdings, productivity is rising at 2.3 percent in the state, which is higher than the national average of 1.7 percent,” he said, adding, crops like rice and wheat, which are grown over here are not subject to market fluctuations.

On Thursday, CII-YI has launched mobile service for the young farmers through which they will get weather alerts on alternate days, advisory services and soil consultation. The CII-YI is also planning to tie up With the Multi-Commodity Exchange (MCX) to give output price alert and agriculture business news to the farmers.

“This will help in bridging the knowledge gap among the farmers and help us disseminate more knowledge on better farming,” CII-YI national vice-chairman Rahul Mirchandani said.

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