Agri loan targets/priority lending misses the targets!

Pranab Mukerjee is likely to raise farm lending target by a 25% rise!

Bankers are seen always big boys. In fact, bad big boys.

The man on the street sees the big and massive bank buildings as a sign of their bigness.

But this is an illusion. Times have changed and the Wall Street rogue banks had proved who they are.

In India it is still, it seems, early days. Bankers are still seen with some awe.

But this much change. There must be accountability when these bankers are seen as throwing away the money of another set of big boys, the corporate boys, these fellows also have an easy run, as we have seen from the various scandals unfold their saga!

Now, the poor are the real issue here.  What was the purpose of Indira Gandhi’s revenge on Morarji Desai?

Banks, the PSU banks, are not doing their duty. They haven’t lived up to their mandate.

Now, the biggest bank, SBI is crying foul on its worst quarter in a decade. It is losing money. Yes, it will if it starts having clients like Kingfisher Airlines as clients.

There are much more, ideologically bigger enemies of the poor. They belong to the real top league. They are biggest and also the politically well-connected. Readers can in fact name them, each by their own smartness index!

Now, let us come to the budget time and also look at the state of our farm lending commitment of the bankers.

We write just before days of the actual budget presentation. It looks the finance minister; in his wisdom (what else you have got from this government’s many diversions of mind and morality) will raise the farm lending target by 25 per cent in the budget for 2012.

Fine. That is cheerful news.

Finance minister asked five PSU bankers to give him a status report on banks’ direct lending to the farm sector in the last three years, when, it is pointed out, bankers failed by 13.5 per cent shortfall in their lending target. Even now, as the official points out the state run banks fell short of almost half of their target of Rs.4.75 lakh crores.

Net bank credit must be to the agriculture sector, who doesn’t know?

Yet, see what the banks are doing! They routinely give a miss and offer lame excuses!

Why, the banks, the PSU banks are often in the news only for the wrong reasons, it seems. They are in the news when their high-paid employees, the bank employees, along with the other financial sector employees are seen as the privileged and they often offer a picture of no-work, all play syndromes.

Ask any average bank customer. They would endorse this cynical attitude. Compare this with the private sector banks. Of course they are so profit-driven and yet don’t render any social sector lending or perform any public interest force.

The foreign banks, oh, most of them are so hard-driving. Thank God, the old time employing rowdies to collect loans or seize vehicles is gone, yet some of the big cats indulge in such high-handed tactics to maximize profits.

There is a view (articulated by none other Titan The Economist) why the public hate the banks and bankers. There could be any number of cases.

Ask any farmer and you will hear a flood of complaints. Who can forget to read about the routine farmers’ suicides, first from Vidharbha, the latest from the West Bengal districts of Burdhwan and Birbhum. Though the state is heartless  Chief Minister plays another role in this emerging farm sector tragedy.

Now, the budget in on everyone’s mind and the finance minister is not forgetting the farm sector, it seems.

It is reported that  the NPAs of PSU banks is mounting and the SBI alone has ,it seems, the highest of the farm sector NPAs. According to RBI data in 2010-11 the agricultural sector contributed  44 per  cent to the total incremental NPAs of the banks. High growth in the farm credit in the last 4 years, more than 20 per cent during this period, from 2006 onwards may have contributed to this high growth in NPAs.

SBI’s NPAs is huge and 19 per cent of the NPAs are bad loans, the country’s largest lender has of course to bear the largest burden also in this sector. A total of Rs. 7,500 crores is agri credit NPAs.

SBI’s total of Rs. 40,000 of bad loans, as on December 31, farm loans NPAs is huge.

This edit is not for banking experts or for any other experts also.

This is for the common public and for the general public it matters to know that in the prevailing political and corporate corruption, the agri NPAs is a negligible amount.

A drop in the ocean of corruption.

When the talk of the entire country is focused on so many corrupt deals, with funds flowing like Ganga jal in the UP elections where no moral scruple bothered the parties, in particular, the largest party, the Congress party saw to it deployed all the heavyweights, all Cabinet Ministers indulged in election code of conduct, some even openly threatened the Election Commission to dare to control them.

In such a high decibel scenario of corruption and corrupt deals, when big cats of the corporate world arm twisted the very government to disout the illegal licences that later came to be cancelled by the Supreme Court, high dare the government not takes seriously the life and death of the poor, the poor of the earth.

The poor of this country are distributed widely only among the farming population.

So, you can’t afford anymore to ignore the mandate of the government, mandate of the people to do your duty.

Bankers are duty-bound to lend to farmers, the farm co-operatives must be given the funds, the banks shouldn’t play trauma tactics and invest in the Nabard infrastructure or whatever named funds.

This should be treated as dereliction of duty and the bankers suitably punished.

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