Union Home and Cooperation Minister, Amit Shah, addressed the 70th AGM of The Gujarat State Co-operative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank, held in Ahmedabad, through video conferencing from New Delhi on Tuesday and called it a game-changer for the farmers of Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat.
In his remarks on this occasion, Shah said Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has placed the resolve before the Nation of Sahakar Se Samriddhi (Prosperity through Cooperation) and has entrusted the responsibility of contributing to the prosperity and economic upliftment of the country to the cooperative sector.
Lauding the co-op bank he said “Today, after completing 70 years in the Sahakari Mahakumbh of Gujarat, this agriculture bank is entering the 71st year, I would like to congratulate farmers and others associated with the bank on this occasion.”
Tracing the historic significance of the Gujarat State Co-operative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank also called the Kheti Bank, Shah said when the integration of the 222 princely states took place under Sardar Patel the tillers (farmers) became the owners of that land. But at that time farmers did not have money to pay the price.
At that time a Saurashtra Land Mortgage Bank was established by taking the inspiration from Sardar Patel and through the efforts of Udaybhan Singh ji, the Crown Prince of Porbandar, and as a result, the process of giving loans to farmers to make them the owners of the land began.
Today the farmers of Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat are the owners of the land and the biggest credit goes to this agriculture bank. At that time, this bank had played a major role in making 56,000 farmers the owners of land by giving loans, said Shah.
The Kheti Bank is giving loans for agriculture infrastructure to farmers of Gujarat. In this way, the agriculture bank has freed many farmers from the clutches of moneylenders. Shah said that after the establishment of NABARD, the nature of the agriculture bank changed, and along with agriculture, this agriculture bank began disbursing loans for rural development, cottage industries, dairy and self-employment.
Today the Kheti Bank has emerged as the largest agriculture finance bank by disbursing loans. The Kheti Bank’s 17 district offices and 176 branches provide medium- and long-term loans and the Bank has given loans of about Rs 4,543 crores to about 8,42,000 farmers so far.
Its members exceeded three lakh and the Reserve Fund has reached Rs 590 crores after including last year’s profit. Fixed deposits have exceeded Rs. 238 crores and within a year, the Kheti Bank has balanced its finances very well by recovering loans of about Rs 190 crores.
The Union Cooperation Minister said that the Bank has done a very good job on all parameters set by the Reserve Bank of India and NABARD for banking. He said that earlier loans were given at an interest rate of 12 to 15 percent, but now they are given at 10 percent.
Shah said that in the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, GSC Bank, ADC Bank and Agriculture Bank together have decided to register all girls under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana and give a cheque of Rs.25 lakh to the District Collector.
Lauding the PM’s DBT scheme, Shah said benefits of about 300 schemes of 52 ministries have been directly sent to beneficiaries. He said that the entry of cooperatives in all these schemes will take place very soon, which will increase connectivity with citizens.
He said that the way efforts are being made to take agriculture banks out of their losses and make them profitable, in the same way, everyone associated with the cooperative sector will work together to fulfil the resolve of Prosperity through Cooperation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.