Chandigarh,20.09.19-NABARD, the apex development financial institution catering to agriculture and rural development has been providing credit support for infrastructure development including long term loans to FIs for capital formation in rural areas, short term agriculture loans to FIs as also grant support under financial inclusion, farmers/ artisans collectives viz Farmers Producers Organisations, SHGs, JLGs etc. During 2017-18, NABARD Punjab Office had disbursed ₹9289 crore to various partners for the Agriculture and rural development in Punjab, as informed by J P S Bindra, CGM, NABARD Punjab Regional Office while addressing the Press on 19September 2019. He further informed that this year NABARD Punjab Regional Office plan to cross the threshold of ₹11000 crorefinancial assistance to various stakeholders including the State Govt.

Rural Infrastructure development being the top priority of the State, NABARD has supported various infrastructure projects in the State. In previous year, NABARD provided assistance of ₹458.24 crore to State Government under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) for creation of critical rural infrastructure facilities with cumulative assistance of ₹9026 crore since inception till 31st March 2019. The cumulative disbursement under RIDF in Punjab has been to the tune of ₹6601 Crore till 31st March 2019. Besides this, NABARD also sanctioned term loan of ₹27.13 crore to Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Limited (PAICL) for the development of Mega Food Park at Ludhiana and ₹317.4 crore under NABARD Infrastructure Development Fund to PSTCL for rejuvenating transmission infrastructure across Punjab during previous years. Under Warehouse Infrastructure Fund NABARD has sanctioned ₹210 crore to PUNGRAIN for creation of 5 Lakh MT SILOs and ₹255 crore to PSWC for creation of new godowns as well as rejuvenation and modernization of existing storage infrastructure across Punjab.

Important and Innovative Activities

In the state, concentration of heavy metals is increasing leading to high occurrences of cancer. NABARD have sanctioned a project under RIDF for establishment of New State Cancer Institute (SCI) Nuclear Medicine Block and Radiotherapy Block at Govt Medical College, Amritsar and Tertiary Cancer Care Hospital at Fazilka with credit support of ₹53.50 crores. Further, as preventive measures a project of installments of 555 Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in 546 villages of 17 districts has also been sanctioned with loan of ₹76.68 crores.

In the state four major irrigation projects for rehabilitation and increasing the capacity of the major canals for increasing irrigation intensity in the state with TFO of ₹2761.02 crores with NABARD financial assistance of ₹1455.23 crores. Under dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund. One of the project work highlighting is Shahpurkandi dam.

Shri Bindra informed that State Govt. for utilization of treated water from sewerage treatment plants for irrigation in 13 districts of Punjab with credit support of ₹88.95 crore has been provided to the state Government under RIDF.

To boost capital formation in agriculture, NABARD provided refinance of ₹3749.41 crore to various banks during 2018-19 which shall be increased to ₹4000 in the current year. NABARD also proposes to increase the support under short term Refinance during the current year which was ₹4506.85 crore during previous year for facilitating disbursement of crop loans at concessional interest rate to the farmers by banks. To encourage diversification of crops, NABARD has prepared Area Development Plans of ₹1918 crore for 2018-19 to promote dairy, vegetable cultivation, apiculture, mushroom growing which will supplement farmers’ income.

Besides, infrastructure support to state Government and credit support to financial institutions, NABARD has taken up various development initiatives in the state to educate/ train the rural population. Shri Bindra indicated that Paddy Straw burning is a big issue in Punjab which results not only in emission of harmful gases like methane, CO2 and N2O, but also affects agriculture productivity adversely besides also affecting human and livestocks. A beginning was made by NABARD last year under the aegis of NAFCC, by running an awareness campaign on Crop Residue Management across all 22 districts of the state, covering 11,000 paddy growing villages in 4,000 clusters. The results have been encouraging with an overall 10% decline in the burnt up area under paddy. This year too, the campaign has been launched with the help of our stakeholders to encourage the farmers in abstaining from paddy stubble burning and disseminating information about the available alternatives. Besides this, fund has also provided to Department of Agriculture, Punjab for crop diversification by developing maize clusters in 05 districts where paddy is grown. This year 20 new maize clusters are being promoted in 07 districts. Another project under NAFCC is being supported by NABARD through PSCST for Climate Resilient Livestock in a 05 year time span in 03 districts viz Ludhiana, Bhatinda and Tarn Taran for a total outlay of ₹17.39 cr.

To address the issue of input supply, crop productivity and marketing, NABARD has initiated the process of bringing the farmers together as Farmers Producer Organisation which is a registered entity. In Punjab, we have, so far, promoted 91 FPOs in 19 districts across the State. These FPOs have brought visible change in collectivising the operations of farming of small and marginal farmers. NABARD has also digitized these FPOs which will help them in credit linkage. NABARD will assist eligible FPOs to get credit from banks as also through NABKISAN Finance Ltd, subsidiary of NABARD, the main objective of which is to provide credit for promotion, expansion and commercialization of enterprises engaged in agriculture, allied and rural non-farm activities.

We had earlier launched Water Campaign in 2017 (JalJeevanHai) in 5000 villages of the State. To take this further, an Integrated Water Management Scheme (IWMS) has been formulated by NABARD to be implemented in two districts namely Ferozpur and Moga, which are identified as Aspirational Districts by GoI where a cluster of 5 villages with an area of about 500 ha in each district will be covered to undertake various soil and water conservation measures, convergence of other schemes and funds.

To promote the rural craft as also to train rural youth in various skill initiatives, NABARD has taken various skill development initiatives skill development initiatives being done through RSETI/RUDSETI, other Technical institutes& NGOs, etc. Marketing of rural product has been an issue. To support marketing of their products artisans /SHGs are being supported through participation in melas across states and through rural mart and rural haat. Last year, we had sanctioned one rural haat at Hoshiarpur to LambraKangri cooperative Society and had also supported 05 rural marts. Also, a cluster on Phulkari art is being promoted at Sangrur district. Last year, we organised exclusive mela ‘NABKRAFT in KisanBhawan wherein artisans from 8 different states participated. This year also, we are organising similar mela.

NABARD facilitated saving linkage of 2440 SHGs and credit linkage of 2154 Self Help Groups (SHGs) during the year 2018-19. Till date, there 44637 SHGs with saving amount of ₹4287.41 lakh and 31495 SHGs have been credit linked by various banks with outstanding bank loan amount of ₹10619.55 lakh. Also promoted and financially supported 12038 Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) through banks in 2018-19 taking cumulative number of JLGs to 43248. During the present FY, NABARD envisages to facilitate credit linkage of 500 SHGs and also financing of 12500 JLGs.

Last year, we introduced e-Shakti project for digitalization of SHGs by capturing real time data of the SHGs has been launched in Patiala district. As on date 1150 SHGs have been digitalized so that they can avail timely and hassle free credit from banks. During current year, NABARD will cover eight more districts i.eLudhiana, Moga, Ferozepur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur, Sri Muktsar Sahib, Ropar and Jalandhar for digitilisation of 3700 SHGs under the project, with the objective that all the districts of the State can be brought under e-Shakti project in a phased manner.

Financial literacy being an important tool for creating demand for financial products, a structured policy has been adopted for imparting financial literacy to different target segments of population.Sh. JPS Bindra, CGM informed that NABARD has been providing support for financial literacy and strengthening the banking information technology infrastructures. During the year, 02 Mobile Vans were deployed with assistance under Financial Inclusion Fund for demonstrating the Banking Technologies like ATMs, Micro ATMs, PoS machines etc., in order to improve the digital literacy awareness among rural masses. Support shall be extended to Commercial Banks and RRBs for deploying Micro-ATMs in Schools, colleges, Milk societies etc., and PoS/mPoS machines in Tier-3 to Tier- 06 centres to facilitate the digital payments.Sh. Bindra informed that during last year, NABARD conducted2375 Digital Financial Literacy Programmes in rural areas through Scheduled Commercial banks, Cooperative banks & RRBs for different target groups. This year, we propose to conduct 6000 such camps and so far 2900 camps have been conducted.

NABARD is also have subsidiary for providing consultancy named NABCONS. In Punjab, NABCONS has been engaged by the State Agriculture Marketing Board, Chandigarh for implementing the Project of promoting 2nd Grain, Fruit & Vegetable Market, at Sector 39 (West), Chandigarh, by providing consultancy service for preparation of DPR and providing Project Management Consultancy. NABCONS has also been engaged by Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC) and Punjab Skill Development Mission (PSDM).