THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought fruitful interventions by the agencies, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), to protect the interests of the cooperative sector in the state, "which is being unjustifiably strangled by post-demonetisation policies".
As agencies which stay close to decision makers who have erred by taking harsh steps against the cooperative sector, the RBI and the Nabard should advise them (the policy makers) to rectify their mistakes, he said while releasing Nabard's 'State Focus Paper' on state's exploitable credit potential here on Wednesday.
"We are okay with your credit plan, which is exemplary, but the attitude towards primary cooperative societies and banks should be changed so that they can retain the 'mass face' through people's programmes," he added.
Pinarayi, however, appreciated the stand taken by Nabard in support of the cooperative sector, and said the state was grateful for "not abandoning its worthy child heeding to wrong advices". "The latest information provided by RBI through an RTI application says that cooperative banks have no hoard of black money, which disproves the ongoing false propaganda," he added.
Finance minister T M Thomas Isaac, delivering the keynote address, asserted that no plans would succeed if primary cooperative sector is not protected. Replying to the state government's concerns on the existing restriction on withdrawals by account holders in cooperative banks, Nabard chief general manager V R Raveendranath said the agency would take up the issue with concerned authorities and exuded hope that the issue would be solved soon.
Meanwhile, the State Focus Paper, with its theme 'Doubling of farmers' income by 2022', projected a credit potential of Rs 1,28,199.38 crore for 2017-18, against Rs 1,19,391.95 crore for 2016-17, showing an increase of 7.38% over the previous year. In the projected credit potential agriculture sector accounted for 45%, followed by MSME (31%) and other priority sector (24%).
Among the strategies proposed for doubling of farmers' income are exploring possibilities for joint farming and custom hiring of implements to address the issue of uneconomic size of land holdings, promotion of labour banks, proper utilisation of water resources and long-term planning.