GANGTOK, 26 Aug:
The State government is organizing a farmers credit loan mela, ‘Development Through Credit’ in the State to strengthen the economic condition of the farmers in Sikkim. Chief Minister PS Tamang will be launching this famer’s credit loan mela on 28 August at Gyalshing in West Sikkim. After West Sikkim, the mela will move to Namchi on 29 August for farmers of South District. On the occasion, the CM will hand over token cheques to beneficiaries of West Sikkim sanctioned under this scheme.
Addressing a press conference here today, Agriculture & Horticulture Minister, LokNath Sharma thanked the Reserve Bank of India, Sikkim and other bankers in the State for coming together with the government to support local farmers. He mentioned that the department has received 1072 applications from farmers in West Sikkim in the first phase, in which 858 applications have been scrutinized and sanctioned for the loan and 214 applications will be scrutinized due to lack of some documents.
The Minister mentioned that the loan of amount of Rs 28.66 crore will be handed over to 858 beneficiaries of West Sikkim who have applied for loans in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry sectors.
He added that out of 858 beneficiaries, 40% of them applied for loans in animal husbandry sector followed by agriculture and horticulture. He mentioned that the loan mela would be organized following all safety protocols amid this COVID-19 pandemic and maximum 2 beneficiaries from each constituency will attend the function. He added that the CM will hand over token cheque of the loan to beneficiaries on 28 August at Gyalshing and 29 August at Namchi.
Mr Sharma mentioned that after West and South District, the credit loan mela will move to East and North District. However, he added that the loan mela will continue even after this credit loan mela. He mentioned that 70% of local population in the State is engaged in agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry sectors.
All banks in the State have come forward to support the initiative of the State government to support local farmers by providing the loans.
“Our main objective is to ensure the development of the farmers through credit by increasing their income andmake them self-reliant and self-employed,” he said.
The Minister mentioned that the department has appointed Nodal Officers and formed committees at different levels to support banks in the loan process and to guide and help beneficiaries to make the best use of these credits to be self-employed and self-reliant.
The State government has also been working to encourage local youth to take up agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry. He added that the department would provide all technical and other support to local farmers to make them self-employed and self-reliant by using these loans.
The Minister mentioned that the State government has renamed Sikkim Organic Mission to Sikkim Organic Farming Development Agency [SOFDA] to support local farmers engaged in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry to earn better. He added that the government has been providing minimum price support to local farmers.
Mr Sharma mentioned that the department is also launching a new scheme of Rooftop Cultivation especially for people in urban areas by providing them a package and other technical support to start cultivation on the roof of their building. He mentioned that the department will also start a helpline number for interested beneficiaries.
The CM will also soon announce a new subsidy scheme ‘Sikkim Skilled Start-up Loan’ to encourage local youth in agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry sectors.
Likewise, RBI Sikkim General Manager [Officer-in-charge], Ravindra V Sangvai congratulated the State government for taking up this initiative to support local farmers. He mentioned that these credit camps would support local farmers engaged in different agriculture and animal husbandry activities. He spoke about various schemes and loans of the bank for farmers and local youth. He added that such scheme would help farmers to increase income of farmers and encourage them to work more aggressively.
The press conference was also addressed by Additional Chief Secretary cum Agriculture Production Commissioner, Agriculture & Horticulture Departments, AK Yadav.