Several schemes initiated by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) have helped the rural people immensely and paved way to make them economically self-reliant.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday advised NABARD to work towards ensuring efficiency and outcomes at the ground level with improvement in rural income as top priority.
She said this while chairing a review meeting of NABARD’s functioning in the presence of its chairman, banking secretary and other senior officials of the Finance Ministry.
Sitharaman directed NABARD to facilitate the aggregation of organic producers by Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), with a focus on the Northeast states.
With production and marketing of millets as a national priority in the ongoing International Year of Millets 2023, Sitharaman directed NABARD to encourage farmers to enhance the area covered under millets and to protect the returns of farmers who are already growing them.
The Finance Minister also emphasised on concerted efforts to sensitise farmers to shift towards more remunerative but less water-guzzling crops, especially millets, pulses and oilseeds.
She also said that improving the digital capabilities of the rural financial institutions, including (RRBs), be facilitated on priority for augmenting meaningful financial inclusion.
Sitharaman advised NABARD to take steps to augment rural credit by correcting regional imbalances for better productivity in the rural areas, including in the non-farm sector.
In reference to various measures taken by NABARD in the aftermath of the Finance Minister’s visit to various states to drive development and financial inclusion, the NABARD chairman apprised Sitharaman about the development package of Rs 25,991 crore for infrastructure development, FPOs, SHGs and off-farm development for Jammu and Kashmir.