Shah calls on ARDBs to provide more long-term loans to agriculture sector

According to Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah on Saturday, Agricultural and Rural Development Banks (ARDBs) should provide more long-term loans to the agricultural sector, especially for irrigation and other infrastructure.

Shah said the government is creating a database of cooperatives to develop this industry as it is crucial in accelerating the expansion of farms and tripling farmers’ incomes. He pointed out that the revival of the sector, especially irrigation, is necessary to increase farmers’ incomes and advised cooperative banks to focus on providing loans for the expansion of irrigated areas.

According to Shah, if all of the country’s 49.4 crore acres of fertile land were irrigated, it could feed the world, making it the country with the second largest amount of arable land after the United States. Currently, rainfall in the monsoon season determines the availability of 50% of India’s arable land.

Speaking at a national conference in New Delhi, Shah said that over the past nine decades, ARDBs have operated across the country under various titles. By 1924, most of them served as land banks and were the first to provide farmers with long-term finance. Farmers’ dependence on the monsoon has been reduced with the conversion of these banks into ARDBs.

Long-term funding has changed gradually, he said. According to the data, long-term finance provided by cooperatives has not increased over the past 90 years, according to Shah. In particular, long-term and short-term financing for agriculture is crippled in several regions of the country. Activities are carried out effectively in many places, but not always in all states. They need to be revived.

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