'Naya J&K': Financial institutions, govt departments join hands to transform rural economy

Srinagar, Dec 6 IANS): The government reaching out to under-banked sectors in 'Naya Jammu and Kashmir' has transformed the very concept of the rural economy.

The focus has been on making the financial institutions, including public sector banks, vibrant.

The government departments are working in close coordination with each other and the banks to ensure that the seamless credit flows to address the needs of farmers and the youth for their capacity building and entrepreneurship development.

Till August 5, 2019 -- when the Centre announced its decision to scrap J&K's special status and divided it into two Union Territories -- the rural economy in Jammu and Kashmir was in doldrums. Not many people in villages had bank accounts. They had no idea about the benefits which they could avail through centrally sponsored schemes.

During the past three years the government has focused on doubling the income of farmers by improving their socio-economic condition. Several schemes to uplift the rural economy and improve livelihoods of the people have been introduced.

Agriculture didn't figure in priority list

Being an agrarian region, the agriculture sector contributes 16.18 per cent to J&K's GDP but all important agriculture sector didn't figure in the priority list of the former rulers. Politicians, who ruled J&K for seven decades, used the rural people as vote banks and didn't make any sincere effort to empower them.

After 2019, the schemes like National livestock mission, Livestock health and disease control, Rashtriya Gokul mission (RGM), Kisan credit card (KCC) to livestock farmers, National program for dairy development etc. have changed the very concept of the agrarian economy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Focus is not only on the farmers, it's on all the sections of the society in rural areas. The people are being provided financial help and assistance to set up dairy units, small kiryana shops, kiosks and other ventures to eke out their livings and become a part of the development process in the Union Territory.

Road to J&K's prosperity passing through villages

Road to J&K's prosperity is passing through its villages as the rural development has been accorded top priority. Policies based on pragmatism have been devised to harness the tremendous potential of villages.

The helmsmen are aware of the fact that around 70 percent of J&K's population is dependent on agriculture and allied activities. Today, the development in rural areas is not just about self-sufficiency in food production but also about increasing yields and income and empowering the people.

As on date there are more than 56,000 self-help groups acting as facilitators of development. The capacity and scale of these groups have been enhanced with financial support, market linkage, special knowledge and skills and these are emerging as major tools for changing the face of rural Jammu and Kashmir.

The banks and other financial institutions have been told in clear terms that they have to provide all the possible help to the self-help-groups.

Besides helping the SHGs, the financial institutions and line departments are focusing on strengthening the economic relationship between farms and the market.

The rural population is being made aware about benefits of innovation and technologies and developing the agrarian society is the government's top priority.

Many mega projects related to rural development have been completed during the past two years. These projects are in agriculture, animal sheep husbandry, horticulture, skill development, cooperatives, road, power development, and Jal Shakti sector.

The steps taken by the government have integrated rural areas into modern economic units and increased business opportunities in agro and rural industry. These initiatives have transformed the rural economy.

Products from the rural areas are being commercialised for sustaining growth. Various departments are working hard to develop the concept of public-private partnership in rural areas to increase the income of both farming and non-farming communities. The idea of giving easy access to affordable credit to the rural population has enhanced productivity.

B2V-IV programme

The recently concluded Back to Village Programme-IV brought the rural population closer to the financial institutions.

During the course of the event the banks made the people aware about the range of attractive government-sponsored self-employment schemes that include a working capital facility for animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries farmers under the Kisan Credit Card scheme, commercial vehicle finance under Mumkin Scheme, Tejaswani - livelihood generation programme for women, etc.

To encourage the rural youth, J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha himself visited one of the camps of B2V-IV at Sheikhpora in Budgam district and handed over J&K Bank's loan sanction letter to aspiring youth.

LG's Advisor Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar visited a camp at Wussan Ganderbal and handed over Bank's loan sanction letters to beneficiaries. Additional Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo and Secretary GAD, Dr Piyush Singla also visited camps at Faqir Gujri in Srinagar and Mathwar camp in Jammu respectively and handed over loan sanction letters to beneficiaries.

The J&K's top brass during the B2V-IV programme gave a clear message that the banks have to achieve self-employment targets set by the government.

For every panchayat in J&K, the administration had set a target of 15 self-employment loans for banks operating in the UT.

Union MoS Finance praises J&K Bank

During his visit to J&K, Union Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad had praised J&K Bank for doing a commendable job.

He had lauded the bank for helping the youth to stand on their feet. He had praised the bank for progressing ahead with a clear digital vision, and enhancing financial awareness of the people while deepening financial inclusion. Karad had also given sanction letters to 16 beneficiaries financed by the bank under various self-employment schemes like PMEGP, Mission Youth, NRLM, and AIF.

During the past three years the government has been working hard to achieve the main objective of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, led regime to increase financial literacy, deepen financial inclusion, and ensure that all the financial transactions are done digitally across the country.

In rural J&K, digital transactions were not even heard of in the past but during the past two years, digital transactions have become a norm with even a small kiryana shop having a facility of m-pay, g-pay or any other method.

J&K Bank has set a target of Rs 4 lakh crore business in next five years with annual profit of Rs 4,000 crore and is aiming to improve the share of rest of India in our overall loan book to 50 per cent.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir are a part and parcel of the plans envisaged by the J&K Bank to reach on the top. During the past three years the bank has proven that it's committed to uplift the standard of living of people in the Union Territory and is an equal stakeholder in J&K's development.



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Title: 'Naya J&K': Financial institutions, govt departments join hands to transform rural economy

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