‘Banking rules for agriculture loans have to be tweaked, it will ensure lower defaults’

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Present at the D D Kosambi Festival of Ideas on January 29, CEO of the non-banking finance company, Northern Arc Capital, Kshama Fernandes said that certain banking rules pertaining to agriculture loans have to be tweaked in India.

Fernandes, who was speaking on the subject, ‘Empowering rockstars at the rock bottom – journey to an inclusive world’ at the event stated, “Agriloans are lent to buy seed, fertiliser, fodder for cattle, etc. If the farmer buys fodder for the cows, then it is considered to be an agri-loan, but if he buys food for his famine-stricken family, then it’s not an Agri loan. We must tweak such things in the Indian economy.”

This will ensure that there are fewer loan defaults, she assured.

“Mass defaults are rarely instigated by the borrower; they are instigated by vested interests,” Fernandes said.

She also spoke about the need to curb poverty and alleviate the poor.

“A significant proportion of the loans that Northern Arc has lent has reached some of the remote villages of Goa. Fortunately, the proportion of poor seen in Goa is not as high as what is seen in many of the other states,” she shared during her lecture.

“We see a lot of over-lending, wherein a lot of financial institutions go and lend to the same borrower in the same geography. The opportunity really is to go wider and deeper and enrich more people,” she added.

She spoke of women in a remote village of Udaipur, who are struggling for a living, yet are able to survive owing to financial help.