In the wake of reluctance among farmers on using Kisan Credit Cards (KCC), state agriculture department will initiate a drive to enlighten farmers and encourage banks to be more considerate.
Presently,cards have been distributed to 60 per cent farmers but only 15 to 20 per cent “effectively use” those. In fact,it has been found that farmers are preferring the traditional way of taking loans from merchants instead of approaching banks.
Sanjeev Chopra, principal secretary of agriculture department, said the various benefits that KCC holders can avail would be publicised and farmers would be encouraged to use and renew their cards.
For instance, card holders can avail a four per cent rate of interest on loans taken and a timely payment entails the debtor to a two per cent rebate.
This apart, their crops would also be insured. According to Chopra, less usage of KCC has been observed in states like Punjab and Haryana that are much more agriculturally advanced.
Launched in 1998-99 by the then BJP-led NDA government, KCC is meant to help farmers take decisions on how to use the cash for cultivation. The cards are issued to farmers based on their land holdings.
The KCC operates like a normal credit card. Farmers can use them for the purchase of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, besides for several other production needs.
Meanwhile, Chopra said, Bengal is the only state that funds its research wing. Presently there are seven research stations and discussions are held regularly on improving research.
In fact, research has helped in bringing a 10 lakh ton higher rice cultivation. This apart, Chopra said that the government is prepared so that agriculture is not hampered even if there is a 20 per cent higher or lower rainfall.