Rural Infrastructure development a must for New India
Lucknow | February 2018

National Seminar on Best Practices in Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) was organised by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) at Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD), Lucknow on 24th February 2018. RIDF, being implemented through NABARD is cheapest and largest source of institutional finance for State Govts. for rural infrastructure.
Sh Shiv Pratap Shukla, Hon’ble Minister of State (MoS) for Finance, Govt of India, inaugurated the seminar in the presence of Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman, NABARD, Shri U.P. Singh, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Govt. of India. Senior officials from Govt. of India, various State Governments and NABARD attended first of its kind seminar.   
Addressing the seminar, Hon’ble Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla, MoS for Finance, Govt. of India emphasized that development of rural infrastructure is a top priority of Govt. of India. He mentioned about various Govt. of India initiatives in rural sector like Operation Green. He appreciated role of NABARD in bringing rural prosperity. Further, he expressed happiness that RIDF has emerged as preferred source of funds for State Govt.. He also congratulated NABARD for extending RIDF support to as many as 36 diversified activities. He observed that improved monitoring mechanism under RIDF has led to timely completion and adherence to desired technical standards resulting in creation of quality rural infrastructure. He informed that Govt. of India, as announced in Union Budget 2018-19, has enhanced RIDF corpus to Rs 28000 crores for 2018-19. He expressed hope that utilisation of RIDF resources by State Govts. would pave the way for doubling the income of farmers, as per the vision of our Hon’ble Prime Minister. He urged upon the State Govts. to adopt systematic approach to rural infrastructure development using RIDF support.
In his keynote address, Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman NABARD gave a brief background and rationale of RIDF and said that since inception of the RIDF in NABARD in 1995-96, cumulative loan amount of Rs 3.11 lakh crore was sanctioned to State Govts. under 23 tranches with disbursement of Rs. 2.31 lakh crore. He also informed that over 6 lakh rural infrastructure projects of various types have been supported under RIDF. He referred to few exemplary projects like SAUNI in Gujarat and Mission Bhagirathi in Telangana, assisted through RIDF/LTIF.
He highlighted that impact evaluation studies by reputed institutions brought out positive impact of irrigation and rural connectivity projects on improving rural prosperity. He also mentioned that owing to proven track record in RIDF, Govt. of India has entrusted NABARD for implementing other key funds such as Long Term Irrigation Fund (LITF), Minor Irrigation Fund (MIF), Agriculture Marketing Fund, Fund for rural housing (PMAY-G), Dairy Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF), and newly created Animal Husbandry Development Fund and Fisheries Development Fund for supporting agriculture and rural sectors.    
Speaking on the occasion, Sh. U.P.Singh, IAS, Secretary, MoWR, GoI, gave a perspective of water availability in the country. He informed setting up of Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) in NABARD for funding of irrigation projects which were languishing incomplete for want of funds for many years. He further said that Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR), Government of India had identified 99 projects for financial assistance under LTIF amounting to Rs.77,000 crore. He spoke about many other initiatives for enhancing irrigation efficiency. He also appreciated NABARD for launching ‘Save Water’ campaign.
Shri Sanjeev Mittal, Principal Secretary, Finance, Govt. of U.P., said that RIDF was proving to be a key support to State Govts. for supporting rural infrastructure development. He shared the experiences of Uttar Pradesh in implementation of RIDF and observed that 63000 kms of road in State have been constructed through RIDF support. He also referred to projects assisted through LTIF.  
The day long seminar on best practices under RIDF discussed initiatives taken by various State Govts., in various sectors including Irrigation, Rural connectivity, Social & renewable energy sectors. The seminar also had thematic discussions focused on alternative finance for Rural Infrastructure development, Climate Smart Rural infrastructure etc.