In order to address the existing infrastructure gaps and mobilize investment in agriculture infrastructure, Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) scheme was launched in 2020 with an objective to mobilize a medium – long-term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through incentives and financial support. The scheme envisages provision of Rs. 1 Lakh Crore by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum and credit guarantee coverage under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) for loans up to Rs. 2 Crores. As on date, loans amounting to Rs. 26,064 Crores have been sanctioned for 33,369 projects and these sanctioned projects have mobilized an investment of Rs. 44,208 crores in the agriculture sector.
A new campaign named ‘BHARAT’ (Banks Heralding Accelerated Rural & Agriculture Transformation) has been launched by the Government under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Scheme to provide maximum benefits to the people and to create a competitive spirit among the Banks and lending institutions to mobilize agriculture infrastructure projects loan at a faster pace. This is a month-long Campaign from 15th July 2023 to 15th August 2023. Top performing Banks under different categories i.e. commercial Banks in public and private Sector, Regional Rural Banks, Small Finance Banks (SFBs), Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and cooperative Banks will be selected at the end of the Campaign and their special contribution will be recognized. As on 31.07.2023, overall Rs.1239 Cr. have been sanctioned by numerous banks for 1375 projects under BHARAT campaign.
This Campaign was launched on 12th July, 2023 which was attended by more than 100 Banking Executives that included MDs/Chairman, EDs of commercial Banks in public and private sector, Regional Rural Banks, Small Finance Banks, NBFCs and select cooperative Banks. Moreover, the daily performance under the campaign is being shared among all the Banks through messages at the closing of business hours of Banks every day. These daily updates generate much enthusiasm and competitive spirit among the Banks and lending institutions to perform and exceed their targets. Ministry is committed to have regular interactions with the Bank Executives through various modes of communication in between with a view to review performance under the campaign and to persuade the slow movers and non-starters to perform.
Banks have been requested to achieve the targets considering the potential for agri infra projects from time to time and the response of the banks is encouraging. This ministry sets AIF annual targets for individual Banks on the basis of their clientele base, geographical reach and share in the agricultural advance and past performance. The department maintains regular touch with every bank through its designated AIF Nodal Officer in the Head Office for implementation of the AIF Scheme from the submission of application to reimbursement of Scheme benefits. Interaction with Banks’ top Executives and their Nodal Officers takes place to review the progress of the Scheme and providing handholding support at regular intervals such as “Bankers are Anchors “ programme conducted at NABARD HQ in Dec.2022.
Further, Ministry conducts capacity building programmes at Bankers’ Training Colleges on physical mode and awareness sessions on AIF Scheme with Bank officials from Head Offices and controlling offices of various Banks on VC mode to promote the Scheme. which displays the enthusiasm of the Banks in general. Special award giving ceremonies are also organised to acknowledge the contribution of top performing Bank Executives and their Team members. Social media groups comprising Banks’ AIF Teams serve as the fast mode of communication with Banks for persuading them to lend more and more under AIF for creation of agriculture infrastructure and this forum also helps in sorting out operational issues and providing handholding support.
This information was given by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.