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Nabard is looking to take its digitisation of SHGs to 22 more districts, to be completed by the end of 2016-17, under the SHG-Bank Linkage Programme after successful pilot execution in Jharkhand and Maharashtra, Chairman Harsh Kumar Bhanwala said today.
Nabard had launched the the largest microfinance programme in the world involving 7.9 million self-help groups (SHGs) and picked Ramgarh in Jharkhand and Dhule in Maharashtra for the pilot project for digitisation, Bhanwala said.
Buoyed by the encouraging results, the project will be extended to cover another 22 districts across the country and will be completed by this fiscal, Bhanwala said after receiving honorary degree of Doctor of Science at the 37th Convocation of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) here.
Stating that Nabard-TNAU linkage has contributed to the development of agricultural education, infrastructure and strengthening of research activities, he said that if Tamil Nadu is at the forefront of agriculture, the contributions by agricultural scientists and farmers of the state were substantial.
Strengthening the agricultural sector is crucial for poverty alleviation, ensuring food security, increasing employment opportunities and enhancing rural income, Bhanwala said.
Consistent efforts taken by the Centre, RBI and Nabard had resulted in agricultural credit growing impressively during the last decade, especially after the policy of doubling of credit was unveiled in June 2004.
The credit flow to agriculture reached Rs 8.77 lakh crore as on March 31, 2016, of which crop loans accounted for Rs 7.05 lakh crore, he said.
The ratio of agricultural credit to agricultural GDP has increased to around 42 per cent by the end of 2015-16 from 10 per cent in 1999-2000, he said.
In the over 34 years of its existence, Nabard has emerged as the largest development financial institution in the country, playing "a catalytic role" in agriculture and rural development with a view to attaining sustainable rural prosperity.
Declaring the institution of endowments, Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister R Doraikannu said the government had allotted Rs 1,429 crore for agriculture education and research during 2011-16.
The state has received three Krishi Karman award in the last five years, he said.
Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao presided over the convocation, in which clsoe to 600 students received degrees and awards.