In an effort to help the agricultural sector tide over the coronavirus pandemic, the government will lend to farmers under Kisan Credit Cards. “A special saturation drive is underway to provide concessional credit to farmers through Kisan Credit Card (KCC) in an effort to buffer the agricultural sector from the shock of COVID-19,” the Ministry of Finance announced in a statement on Thursday. Credit cards to 1.22 crore farmers were sanctioned with a credit limit of more than Rs 1 lakh crore as of 17th August. The same is expected to help reinvigorate the rural economy and boost agricultural production.
The government had previously declared, under its Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package, concessional credit of Rs 2 lakh crore for farmers. 2,5 crore farmers, including fishermen and dairy farmers, were expected to benefit from the move. Among other announcements made for the agriculture sector under the economic package Rs 21 lakh crore, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the development of Rs 1 lakh crore infrastructure fund to boost investments in the farm sector, especially in cold storage, warehousing and farmers ‘ markets.
Later Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced the same during his speech on Independence Day. “The Farm Infrastructure Fund will provide farmers with better warehousing and cold storage facilities, and is a step towards doubling farm income,” PM Modi said, adding that the Fund would also generate new jobs as investments in food processing and post-harvest facilities in rural India would increase. PM Modi has also transferred the sixth payment in cash to farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme. Close to 8.5 crore farmers in their banks got the sixth instalment of PM-KISAN scheme. The total sixth instalment amount was 17,000 crore Rs.
The Kisan Credit Cards scheme was introduced to prevent farmers from getting loans at high interest rates paid by unorganized sector money lenders. Farmers can take advantage of a loan under the scheme if and when they need it. In August 1998, the scheme was launched and prepared by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development ( NABARD).