Assam to offer zero-interest crop loans of up to Rs 1 lakh to farmers

To boost the agricultural sector, Assam will soon launch a “zero interest crop loan” program for farmers, under which they can borrow up to Rs 1 lakh. Introducing the state’s 2017-2018 budget, Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the proposal was aimed at encouraging farmers to obtain loans amid low credit flow in rural areas. of State.

“Financial inclusion is at the heart of many of our government’s programs. The low credit-to-deposit ratio in Assam leaves great scope for expanding credit flows to rural areas, especially farmers. To encourage the use of credit by our farmers, we propose to introduce “zero interest loans for crops” by offering a subsidy at 100% interest on agricultural loans up to 1 lakh rupee “, a said Sarma.

The minister said Assam might be the first state in the country to take such a “transformative intervention” to boost agricultural lending. The budget has allocated a sum of Rs 25 crore for 2017-18 to the program.

In its previous budget, Sarma announced a massive five-year rural investment program of Rs 30,000 crore to double the incomes of farmers in the state. Named “Chief Minister Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana (CMSGUY)”, the mission will culminate in 2021-2022, coinciding with 75 years of independence from India and is in unison with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to double the farm income.

In addition, the budget announced the introduction of a one-time cash incentive of Rs 3,000 per farmer with an inactive Kisan Credit Card (KCC) if he renews the card. According to records, over 80 percent of KCC cards are inactive, indicating that the flow of credit from banks to farmers is not proportional to the number of KCC holders. “As KCCs are intrinsically linked to the growth of the agricultural sector, it is important that we relive these inactive cards so that there is a strong flow of credit in the market. I am trying to create a positive situation on the ground by encouraging the KCC to hold farmers, which will encourage banks to extend more credit, ”Sarma said while allocating a sum of Rs 65 crore in the budget.

Another important announcement was to win over the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry. The government has offered to provide up to 90 percent of one-time capital support expenditures without any caps. The budget also proposed to provide a 100% refund of stamp / transfer duties and registration fees paid by BPO / IT / IT when selling or renting. “Perhaps this type of incentive has not been provided by any other state and even the Indian government. We felt that a very attractive incentive program is needed to woo this industry and therefore our government proposed it, ”Sarma said.

He added: “We also fully appreciate that there are regional constraints for the BPO industry and therefore substantial incentives must be given to make Assam an attractive destination for the BPO industry.”

The budget for 2017-2018 is tax-free and the Minister of Finance could put forward figures which show good growth in tax collection in 2016-2017. Between April and December 2016, tax collection increased by 16.10% compared to the corresponding figure for the previous year. Sarma said the increase in tax collection could be achieved by checking the system for leaks. However, the budget had a deficit of Rs 2,349 crore at the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year.

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