Facing dip in demand, Maharashtra approves ‘realistic’ ₹4.24 lakh cr. annual credit plan

Poor loan offtake in agricultural sector necessitates move

Faced with a resource and credit crunch in the banking sector, the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) on Wednesday lowered the bar for the Annual Credit Plan (ACP), also called the total priority plan, for 36 districts in the State.

The target is a “realistic” ₹4.24 lakh crore as against ₹4.34 lakh crore the previous year, in the face of consistent negative year-on-year growth owing to low offtake in the agriculture sector, officials said. Last year’s target was one of the highest in the country.

The committee members said there is a dip in demand for credit. The total plan for agriculture has been set at ₹87,322 crore this time, as compared to ₹85,464 crore the previous year. “There is generally a low demand for credit. Otherwise too, banks are facing a resource crunch. This is one of the reasons the target set this time appears to be more realistic in nature,” said a senior bureaucrat.

In 2018-19, the committee had accepted an ambitious plan target of ₹4,34,591 crore but managed to achieve only 73% of it at the end of the financial year.

During the corresponding period of the previous year, the achievement was 76%, and 96% in 2016-17, according to the data.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis urged bankers to think “less commercial and more agriculture”. He appealed to banks to fully achieve the latest target, giving maximum loans to farmers and bringing them into institutional credit system. “This forum is not commercial. Crop loans are to save our farmers from private borrowing. We need to understand the socio-economical aspect. Agriculture is the most important aspect of our economy and (a major) contributor to GDP. Bankers need to make agriculture their priority,” said Mr. Fadnavis.

The 143rd meeting of the SLBC also discussed the poor monsoon scenario in the State, with only 73.60% of the normal rainfall recorded between June 2018 and October 2018. As many as 41 talukas received below 50% rainfall, the forum was told.

The banks also presented the latest additions to various schemes, including 11.22 lakh subscribers under the Atal Pension Yojana, 40.22 lakh enrolment in the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and 97 lakh in the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Beema Yojana.

Under the newly-approved Stand Up India, ₹62,973 lakh was disbursed to 3,717 beneficiaries.

The Government of India had launched the scheme to facilitate loans between ₹10 lakh and ₹1 crore to Scheduled Case and Scheduled Tribe borrowers.

Officials said preparations for the Annual Credit Plan begin in February every year. The State credit plan is prepared by consolidating the District Credit Plan and after discussing it in the SLBC.

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