Friday, July 31, 2009

Co-operative Bank plans to offer loans at zero interest rate to SHGs & farmers

The Pune district central co-operative bank (PDCCB) is planning to offer loans at zero per cent interest rate to self-help groups and farmers. The final decision will be taken in the annual general body meeting which is scheduled to be held on July 27, this was informed by Baban Bhegade, chairman of PDCCB during the news conference.

Bhegade informed the general body meeting will be attended by district guardian minister Ajit Pawar, the issue of funds of Rs 279.95 crore that the bank is yet to receive from the Union and the state governments under the debt waiver and relief schemes will also be taken up in the meeting.

Bhegade informed, "There are other important issues of loan disbursement to self-help groups which will be discussed during the meeting. The bank is planning to offer loans to self-help groups with zero per cent interest and also to other like farmers."

Explaining further, he said SHGs have small capital income, thus it becomes difficult for SHGs to manage if any interest burden is put upon it. He added, "To encourage them for the first few years, the bank is planning to give loans without any interest. But, the final decision would be taken at the meeting with the consent of the members".

Regarding the funds to be received from the state and Union governments, Bhegade stated after the Union government announced debt waiver and debt relief scheme in February 2008, the state government following on the lines of the Union government also announced a similar scheme for farmers in Maharashtra. "But, both the governments have released funds under the schemes partially," he said.

Bhegade informed, "The PDCCB and its allied co-operative banks and credit societies have cleared the debt accounts of farmers whose applications have been approved by the Union and state governments. Hence, those farmers are eligible for fresh loans. The bank has also disbursed loans to such farmers". "The approved amount under the Union government's debt waiver scheme was Rs 404.15 crore of which Rs 334.72 crore has been received by the bank. Of the Rs 120.78 crore under the debt relief scheme, the bank has not received a single rupee from the Union government."

Bhegade further added, "Under the debt waiver scheme of the state, the PDCCB has received Rs 52.82 crore, which is 100 per cent of the approved amount. But, in the debt relief scheme, of the approved Rs 110.91 crore, the bank has received only Rs 20.17 crore till date."

Bhegade explained, “Despite the gap in account, the bank has recorded Rs 20 crore net profits in the last financial year”.

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