1. Integrated Rural Development Programme
IRDP is a scheme devised by Government of India for generating self-employment opportunities in the rural sector and for the economic development of rural areas. Banks are advised to extend cheap credit facilities to the people/ group selected under this programme. NABARD then provides refinance to banks.
NABARD has accorded high priority to projects envisaged under IRDP. The refinance provided for IRDP accounts for highest share for the support provided for poverty alleviation programmes. Some specific steps taken to augment the flow of credit under IRDP programme are given below:
(i) Including the activities under IRDP in the service area plan, backward and forward linkage and infrastructural support.
(ii) Treating the family as a unit for providing assistance and determining the size and number of activities in relation to the income gap to be bridged for lifting the family above the poverty line.
(iii) Among alternative activities, promoting the less costly ones for securing optimum utilization of the available resources.
(iv) Diversifying the IRDP by encouraging secondary and tertiary sectors.
(v) Facilitating provision of infrastructural support including backing support and marketing linkages and supervision by adopting a cluster approach in the selection of beneficiaries. A total sum of Rs. 735 crore has been disbursed by banks under the scheme during the year 1998-99.
The RRBs and commercial banks are the major participating banks in the programme. Most of the funds under the scheme go to states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh where poverty level is high.
The IRDP and other special schemes are now merged into a single scheme by Government of India and announced the details of the scheme in August 1999. The new scheme, SGSY is explained below.
In the past years there were many self employment schemes were in operation for the upliftment of rural poor. Effective from April, 1999 Government of India has merged all such Self Employment Schemes into one and launched the new SGSY scheme.
Under this scheme rural individual poor and group of individuals like the self-help group may obtain credit facilities to undertake any economic activity which will generate regular income for the borrowers.
The main objective of the scheme is to lift those who are living below poverty line and enable them to get income of at least Rs. 2,000 per month. Presently, poverty line differs from state to state between Rs. 13,000 and Rs. 19650 per year. The scheme envisages lifting the poor families above the poverty line within 3 years of assistance.
The selection of families or SHG for assistance under the scheme will be chosen by a team of officials like BDO, Bank Branch Manager, Gram Panchayat officials on annual basis. The credit facilities will be provided by banks. However, funding for the programme will be done by Central Government and State Government in the ratio 75:25.
It is proposed that the SGSY Scheme will mainly focus to help rural poor particularly SC/ST population, Women and disabled persons. In case of beneficiaries under the scheme being Self-Help Group, each SHG may consist of 10 to 20 persons.
The Scheme does not prescribe any maximum loan amount. It depends upon the project cost. Rate of interest and other conditions may be ascertained from banks. Commercial Banks, Co-operative Banks and RRBs will be asked to provide credit under this scheme.
Repayment of loan needed to be made only after 5 years in installments. It is a treated as a medium-term loan. NABARD will provide refinance to banks sanctioning loans under the Programme.
2. Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas
NABARD prepared guidelines for promoting group activities under the programme and provided 100% refinance support.
3. Training-cum-production Centre for Women
NABARD provides grant? To voluntary/development agencies for setting up of centres which aim at providing vocational/entrepreneurship training centres for women exclusively. Some provide marketing-oriented skill to women for upgrading technical and designing skill.
4. Self-Help Group
NABARD has been making efforts to establish linkages between Self-help Group organized by some voluntary agencies for poor people in rural areas and official credit agencies. This would augment the flow of credit for production purposes and reduce their dependence on informal credit sources.
Provision of credit extended under the SHG scheme during the recent past. Under the scheme so far 4.6 lacs SHG from more than 78 lacs poor families have been covered upto March 2002.
During the year 2 lacs new SHG have been extended bank loans amounting to Rs. 545 crore as against Rs. 288 crore disbursed during the year 2000-01. The total bank loan provided to all the 4.6 lacs SHGs till March 2002 aggregated to Rs. 1026 crore.
It should be remembered that NABARD provides refinance at special interest rate of banks. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the leading states which account for large portion of new linkages under the scheme. It is noteworthy to mention here that 90% of new SHGs were formed exclusively by women.
5. NABARD also provides refinance to full extent for project taken under National Watershed Development Programme and National Mission of Wasteland Development.
6. Scheme of Monitoring Evaluation and Research Activities
NABARD conducts studies of on-going schemes and completed studies to obtain feedback on performance of these projects.
The NABARD has system of District Oriented Monitoring studies in which a cross section of schemes sanctioned in a district to various banks is studied to ascertain the performance of the schemes and to identify constraints in implementation and for initiating appropriate action to remedy them. Annually about 100 such studies are conducted.
NABARD also provides support to research studies by academic and technical institutions on matters having bearing on its developmental role. For this purpose, it has Research and Development Fund.
7. Vikas Volunteer Vahini Programme
NABARD has been organizing farmers club in association with voluntary agencies in rural areas particularly in tribal areas, which have proved very helpful for credit institutions in extending credit to poor farmers. These clubs, besides creating awareness among weaker sections about the proper utilization of assets and importing modern method of farm technology, are involved in educating the tribal people.
8. External Aid Project
NABARD has been implementing various foreign aided projects. The projects are assisted by World Bank Group, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development, etc., NABARD actively participates in formulation and implementation of such projects. It is also required to monitor the projects and submit final report to aid agencies.
9. Inspection and Supervision of Co-operative Banks and Regional Rural Banks
NABARD has been entrusted with the responsibility of supervision of Co-operative and Regional Rural Banks. For this purpose, it conducts inspections of Co-operative Banks and Regional Rural Banks. These banks are also to submit periodical information to NABARD for monitoring purposes.
NABARD gives its recommendations to RBI with the matter relating to licensing of Co-operative Banks and Regional Rural Banks. The nominees of NABARD on the boards of Co-operative Banks and Regional Rural Banks monitor the working of banks.
10. Human Resource Development (HRD)
NABARD provides assistance and support for the training of staff of other credit institutions engaged in credit dispensation for agriculture and rural development. Training facilities are extended at its two training institutions Bankers Institute for Rural Development (BIRD), and Regional Training Centres (RTCs).
Some funding of the courses conducted at the College of Agricultural Banking of RBI and junior Level Training Centres of SLDBs are also provided. Apart from these, NABARD conducts seminars/programmes on Non-farm-Centre Business Development, inspections of banks, etc.