Short-term subsidised crop loan to be under Direct Benefit Transfer mode: RBI

Under Interest Subvention Scheme, farmers can avail of short-term crop loans of up to three lakh at a subsidised interest rate of seven per cent that could go down to four per cent on prompt repayment

Interest subsidy scheme on short-term crop loans of up to three lakhs will be implemented through the DBT mode from the current financial year, the Reserve Bank of India said. The government has earmarked Rs 15,000 crore for 2018-19 towards interest subvention for short-term crop loans.

In a notification, the central bank also said that the Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS) 2018-19 will be required to be settled as applicable in plan scheme — scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and northeast region, among others. The agriculture and farmers welfare ministry has informed the Reserve Bank of India that it has initiated the process for continuation of the ISS 2018-19.

“…as an interim measure, the Interest Subvention Scheme will be implemented in 2018-19 till further instructions are received, on the terms and conditions approved for the scheme for 2017-18,” the notification said. As per the scheme, farmers can avail of short-term crop loans of up to Rs 3 lakh at subsidised interest rate of 7 per cent that could go down to 4 per cent on prompt repayment.

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“Further, as advised by government of India, from 2018-19 the ISS is being put on Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode on In kind/services basis and not on In cash basis and all loans processed in 2018-19 are required to be brought on ISS portal/DBT platform, once it is launched,” the Reserve Bank of India added.

The interest subvention of two per cent will be calculated on the crop loan amount from the date of its disbursement up to the date of actual repayment by the farmer or up to the due date of the loan fixed by the banks, whichever is earlier, subject to a maximum of one year.

The notification also asked the banks to capture category-wise data (General, SC, ST, etc) of beneficiaries for reporting of the same on ISS portal ‘individual farmer wise’ to settle the claims arising from 2018-19 onwards. Till such time the DBT portal becomes functional banks are requested to submit their claims, category-wise, it added. The bank said it is working on the detailed modalities regarding categorisation of loans.

“Till such time the modalities are finalised, banks may obtain the category-wise data on a self-declaration basis. There should, however, be no cap on the loans given under each category,” it said. Under the ISS, interest subvention is provided to NABARD, regional rural banks, cooperative banks, public sector banks as well as private banks for providing short-term credit to farmers at a subsidised rate of interest.

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