The Finance Minister has released the second part of Self Reliant India. We don’t know whether there are anymore parts. Releasing in parts gives her lime light and deviation from the increasing Corona status.

She says 3 crore farmers with agriculture loan of Rs.4.23 Lakh Cr have availed moratorium. We will have to wait and see for RBI Reports. They have to pay additional interest which the government is not willing to bear.

Interest subvention and prompt repayment incentive on crop loans extended upto 31st May 2020. This scheme is there for a decade and extended periodically. Nothing new. Infact this government removed interest subvention and PRI to agri gold loans in September last year affecting crores of people. This should be revised.

25 Lakh KCCs issued. This is routine for banks and some banks have introduced KCC Gold loans. So it is only renaming of gold loans.

63 Lakh loans of RS.86600 Cr approved in agriculture between 1/3/2020 and 30/04/2020 – Can we believe? This happened during lock down? May be some loans were given before March 24. As per RBI data as on 24th April 2020 – food credit came down by 1430 Cr and non food credit came down by 67910 Cr.

Refinancing by RBI, RIDF, WC to states are routine work of NABARD. What is new?

Central government released RS.11002 Cr to states under SDRF. This belongs to states. The demand is 10 times of this by states.

7200 new SHGS for urban poor have been formed starting with March 2020- Can you believe that during lock down meetings took place to form SHGs?

MGNREGA scheme was already announced. But till new dues of previous financial year have not been disbursed.

Labour codes are an assault on labour. Acts are mandatory to be complied. If not one can go to court seeking justice. Codes are only guidelines. No legal protection is available. Even after passing code on wages months back the government has not fixed minimum wage and the newly invented Floor Wage. It is not waiting for parliament as Finance Minister said. When it will come? Even God does not know.

Again talks about previous day announcement of 3 Lakh Cr loan to MSME. Till now RBI has not issued instructions. There is confusion about revised classification. It has not been notified. Entrepreneurs are still waiting.

Free food grain for 3 months was already announced. What happens after May?

National portability of ration cards was announced by Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan months ago. 

Affordable rental housing complexes for migrant workers/urban poor is welcome. During the interview Finance Minister said this will be under PPP. So nothing from government. Rich will construct with bank loan and rent will be on premium rate.

Interest subvention of 2 % for SISHU Mudra Loans (less than Rs. 50000) is a welcome step. Anyway, most of them are already NPA and has to be written off.

Working capital of Rs.10000 for street vendors is a welcome scheme. Question is when will banks give these loans to 50 lakh street vendors? Banks don’t have man power. There should have been an announcement for converting all business correspondents in customer service points as regular employees and CSPs as micro branches. Now we have to wait and see what happens and when? Instead of loan this Rs.5000 Cr should be given free to them by the government. It’s pittance. Credit Linked Subsidy scheme for affordable housing already exists. What is new?

Compensatory Afforestation Management is already announced in the budget. 

Rs.30000 Cr additional emergency working capital as refinance to co-operatives and RRBs is also already in the scheme. In the budget speech Finance Minister announced that farm loans will be increased to Rs.15 lakh crores. This is part of it. 

Rs.2 lakh Cr concessional credit through KCC is also part of the above announcement. The Agri loans outstanding as on March is Rs.1157795 Cr. So more than 3 lakh Cr has to be given to achieve the target.

So whatever is announced is only the old wine in the old bottle. Not even new bottle except the traders loan which actually should be given free.

Bankers and banks will suffer a lot if additional manpower is not provided. Otherwise misuse will take place. I recall a real incident. One young Probationary Officer was given instruction to give 25 loans under Mudra within a month. (All branch managers were asked) He gave loan to his barber, nearby tea stall, man ironing clothes etc. He could not reach the target. So he gave a loan to his father, mother, father in law etc. He was charge sheeted and dismissed from the bank when someone informed it to the controllers.

This can happen again to many if adequate man power is not there and systems are not followed. Finance Minister is doing a great job without spending anything for reviving agriculture.

Thomas Franco is former General Secretary of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation.

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