India’s NABARD to provide bank refinance of Rs 5,000 crore for watershed development projects

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In order to provide finance to the beneficiaries of more than 2,100 watershed development projects in India, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development unveiled a Rs 5,000-crore refinance scheme for banks as well as financial institutions.

The state-run farm sector lender also earmarked another Rs 5,000 crore for turning Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) into multi-service centres.

Under this initiative, assistance will be extended to each state which will contribute a matching amount to start the computerization process of PACS.

“In a move which will boost offtake of economic activities in areas grappling with reverse migration, concessional bank refinance to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore will be made available to banks and financial institutions for lending to beneficiaries in the 2,150 watershed development projects of Nabard,” a release said.

These projects cover over 23 lakh hectares of rainfed area, watershed and tribal development project areas.

The concessional line of assistance will be available for three years from 2020-21 to 2022-23, the institution said.

NABARD, which refinances agricultural loans of financial institutions, also introduced a grant-based scheme for computerisation of PACS, which will enable these ground-level entities to provide seamless credit services to their farmer members.

“These upgraded PACS can be vehicles for creating investment opportunities for rural youth in agriculture, including those impacted by reverse migration in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” NABARD’s Chairman G R Chintala said.