CM releases loans sanctioned for 900 farmers in South Sikkim

Namchi, 28 Aug [IPR]: Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang [Golay] attended the Farmer's Outreach Credit Camp held on the theme, "Development Through Credit," organised by the Department of Agriculture, Horticulture and AH&VS in coordination with Lead Bank, NABARD and RBI at the auditorium of Namchi Senior Secondary School today.

CM attended the program in the company of Minister for Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services, Lok Nath Sharma, Minister for Tourism and Commerce and Industries B.S Panth alongside Chairpersons, Advisors, MLAs, Zilla Adhyaksha, Zilla Panchayats and Officials from CMO.

The program also saw the attendance of DC South, Ragul K, DIG (Range) Pravin Gurung, Secretary to CM SD Dhakal, General Manager (GM) RBI Ravindra Sangvai, GM Sikkim Regional Office NABARD Diwakar Hedge, Secretary Agriculture Rinzing.C.Bhutia, Secretary Horticulture M.T Sherpa, Secretary Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services S.B Subba aside from officers and staff from Agriculture, Horticulture and AH&VS and a large number of bankers and farmers.

Addressing the program, CM announced that a sum of 13 crore rupees has been sanctioned under the scheme in phase 1 of the Development through Credit programme for beneficiaries of South Sikkim.

He brought to light that the objective of the Farmer's Outreach credit programme was mainly being initiated to boost the rural economy and agriculture sector through financial credit from various financial institutions which will offer monetary aid which in turn comes with various features and benefits for farmers all across Sikkim.

Therefore, he urged the beneficiaries to utilize the said loans in a judicious manner for the right reasons and advised them on planning how to spend the money based on what resources will benefit them the most and keep their business running.

The CM also reassured the people engaged in agricultural practices that the entire credit process will require minimal documentation and will offer crop insurance coverage, along with subsidies on interest payments to the farmers.

He further went on to add that the programme also goes to supplement PM Narendra Modi's 'Self-reliant India' mission which focusses on self-reliance in key economic sectors and improves resilience to future geo-economic shocks particularly during pandemics such as COVID-19.

Furthermore, he added that there is a tremendous potential for agri-tech startups to enhance rural livelihoods and reduce costs associated with climatic uncertainties and traditional farming practices. Consequently, he implored the youth of Sikkim to tap opportunities for Start-ups with its core as agriculture, horticulture and livestock development as it can be economically beneficial for them in the longer run.

He also spoke at length about the need for revival of small-scale cottage industries in Sikkim as it contributes towards increasing employment and economic development of a region.

Additionally shifting focus on the health sector of Sikkim, the CM made a handful of announcements related to health sector. He stated that there will be further respite for the patients suffering from kidney ailments as the State government will set-up dialysis units in sub-divisional level health centres after realising the current rise in the number of renal failures amongst Sikkimese populace.

He updated that the dialysis units set up in District Hospitals at Geyzing and Namchi have so far be instrumental in helping a large number of dialysis patients in both the districts.

The CM also apprised the public that Sikkim shall very soon start the practice of bringing medical specialists and senior consultants from well established hospitals to the District Hospitals of the state on a monthly manner to prevent patients from travelling to Siliguri and other adjoining areas.

Similarly, he also affirmed the establishments of Mobile Village Clinics which will be fully equipped with well-trained medical staff and other emergency services for the greater good of the public.

Minister LN Sharma in his address informed that the main objective of the Credit Loan Mela is to strengthen the economic condition of the farmers as well as the State since 70% of the Sikkimese populace is dependent on agriculture and farming.

He shared that this initiative of the State government focuses on development through credit and also asserted the need to boost the agricultural sector in order to achieve a relative growth in the GDP of the State. Further, the Minister also stated that Sikkim Organic Farming Development Agency (SOFDA) will be laying thrust on providing support and assistance to the farmers of the State in promoting organic farming to facilitate the farmers to double their income.

General Manager (Officer-in-charge), RBI, Gangtok, Sangvai and GM NABARD Diwakar Hedge also addressed the program wherein they both lauded the initiative of the State government towards encouraging farmers to seek financial assistance to enhance their agricultural productivity. The GM's also informed the gathering that Banks have also initiated credit camps wherein bankers undertake special initiative to promote financial literacy among the unemployed youths who are eager to engage in agricultural activities for a sustainable livelihood.

During the course of the program a total of 900 processed loans sanctioned to beneficiaries of South District were handed out duly maintaining social distancing norms to support various farming enterprises namely piggery, dairy farming, bee keeping, poultry farming and other allied agricultural practices.