Credit outreach programme


Keeping ”prudential norms” as the base and the substance, credit outreach programme, in simple parlance, is all about Banks to reach to every district of the country to appraise and sanction loans to eligible borrowers. Union Finance Ministry taking necessary initiative in and monitoring it lends to it all the required importance , the aim being that no entrepreneur or any business and commercial enterprise should suffer on account of funds problem. The premise, however, is that all other things including viability, feasibility and most importantly marketability having been taken well care of while appraising and subsequently sanctioning credit facilities. Jammu and Kashmir is otherwise among the states/UTs with not only a good network of bank branches and facilities but credit off – take too has always remained comparatively satisfactory which can be visualised just by last financial year’s figures which are quite encouraging as an amount of nearly Rs.31000 crore was disbursed to as many as 12.50 lakh beneficiaries. Referring to the targets and achievements under annual credit plan of 2020-21 , nearly 70 per cent of targets have been achieved. The other face of the matter, however, should be ascertaining the end use and the percentage of repayments and about the health of asset accounts for the preceding two to three years to keep in mind the overall health of the lending Banks . However, the limitations and constraint on account of COVID pandemic shut down in 2020 and this year for net four to five months and gradual opening up, of course, has also to be kept in mind. There is no doubt about the sincere efforts of the Central Government in giving a push to the pace of economic development in Jammu and Kashmir and row of different projects relating to varied sectors being started and especially the ones delayed due to various reasons. We laud such efforts especially in the context of the idea being tackling the growing unemployment and addressing it through self employment measures. We note that the route chosen to effect the development and also fight unemployment is the conventional Bank credit provided to entrepreneurs under different schemes tailored for them. It is really noteworthy that special focus is also on the women entrepreneurs, their self help groups or those engaged in different sectors of the economy in such an expected way so as to project themselves as role models in different sectors showing their skills. Tajeswani scheme is one such scheme under which a credit limit up to Rs.5 lac is given to such industrious women to set up self employment ventures to benefit individually and also engage a few persons directly or indirectly. We note with quite optimism and satisfaction that the Union Finance Minister recently handed over loan sanction letters to 145 beneficiaries amounting to Rs.306 crore which means nearly on an average Rs.3 crore per beneficiary denoting setting up ventures with promising projections and generating varied employment opportunities while a cluster development fund for the UT amounting to Rs.200 crore through SIDBI could give a push to those projects which face delays in getting started. Rural self -employment training institutes to be set up in Shopian and Baramulla districts in Kashmir for which foundation stone of the respective buildings was laid virtually by the Finance Minister denotes the importance given to entrepreneurs in rural areas about setting up successful ventures. Likewise under “Shikara” scheme an amount of up to Rs.15 lakh will be afforded as credit for purchase and repair of shikara boats and Houseboats in Kashmir. We feel that these steps taken to infuse new life in overall developmental activities with focus on giving a boost to self employment shall bring about quite encouraging results. More of such measures and on continuous basis are required to be taken in Jammu and Kashmir. However, as the Finance Minister has also cautioned about the ”habit” of non- repayment of bank loans and that loan defaulters won’t be allowed to go ”scot free” as she made it clear, can only be possible by employing certain measures starting from impeccably and professionally appraising of loan requests , routing all credit money disbursals though accounts and ensuring strictly the end use and verifying purchasing of assets actually by the borrowers or as mentioned in the credit proposals ,strict monitoring and last but not least the marketability on assured basis.