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Nabard sanctions Rs 21,000 cr to help farmers



New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) The government on Wednesday sanctioned Rs 21,000 crore from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) to district cooperatives, which will be used towards crop loans for farmers with some cash component for payment of wages and agri-inputs.

Briefing reporters, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said the money sanctioned will be routed through District Central Cooperative Banks to the primary agricultural societies, in a bid to ensure a smooth Rabi sowing season ahead.

He said Nabard and the Reserve Bank of India have also been advised to ensure that some cash is provided to farmers from these societies with money flowing in from the designated currency chests of commercial banks.

"We reviewed the situation today. The government decided some more measures for farmers. We have advised banks to ensure chain of activities related to sanction of crop loan and flow of funds to farmers is done in smooth manner," the official said.

Das said Nabard has already furnished the list of cooperatives that will be co-opted for this.

The top Finance Ministry official said that in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s thrust on digital economy and a cashless society, both public and private sector banks have come forward with steps — the latest being waiver of what is called merchant discount rate till December 31, 2016.

This is what banks and credit card companies charge merchants for card-based transactions.

He said all public sector banks have agreed to this. In the case of private sector banks, the finance ministry met with their top officials and while some have agreed some others are expected to follow suit.

Meanwhile, he said, new currency notes have started flowing into the hinterland, with new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes made available to 155,000 post offices for disbursal.


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