The Centre is contemplating an exclusive bank for women on the lines of Nabard, and reducing interest on loans to them, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy said today.
Addressing the State-Level Bankers' Committee meeting here, the Chief Minister said the Centre is considering a proposal to extend loans to women at 7 per cent interest, down from the current 14 per cent.
"The exclusive bank for women will be set up in line with the Jaipur Declaration (of Congress). The Union Cabinet will take a decision soon on the interest reduction," the Chief Minister added.
He said the Andhra Pradesh government would extend interest-free crop loans to farmers from the forthcoming Kharif season.
Each farmer could borrow up to Rs 1 lakh and repay only the principal amount while the government would pay the interest component to banks.
He asked banks to improve disbursement of Kisan Credit Cards in the state and also extend more loans to the aqua producers.
"About Rs 11,000 crore worth of aqua products like fish and prawn are being produced in the state every year. If banks encourage the sector by extending loans, the production may double in the next couple of years," the Chief Minister said.
State Revenue Minister N Raghuveera Reddy said the government would take responsibility for recovery of loans extended to licensed cultivators.
The Revenue Minister said: "We have brought the licensed cultivators under a legal framework to extend institutional credit from banks. However, loan distribution to licensed cultivators was not even 25 per cent of the targeted Rs 2,000 crore this season.
"Besides, stepping up loan disbursal to licensed cultivators, the scale of finance to farm sector has to be enhanced significantly in view of the steep rise in input costs."
Finance Minister A Ramanarayana Reddy, meanwhile, expressed displeasure over poor disbursal of loans to licensed cultivators.
"Though, over five lakh loan eligibility cards were distributed to licensed cultivators, only 1.25 lakh of them were given loans by banks," he pointed out.
Women Development Minister Sunita Laxma Reddy raised the problems related to loan disbursal to women self-help groups while Textiles and Small Scale Industries Minister Prasad Kumar wanted the banks to extend loans liberally to the micro, small and medium enterprises.
Chief Secretary Minnie Mathew, Andhra Bank chairman and managing director B A Prabhakar, Chief Commissioner of Land Administration P K Mohanty and other top officials attended.