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Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Launches Bharat Campaign, Rs 26,064 Crores Sanctioned For 33,369 Projects

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, AIF introduces the Bharat campaign in order to bridge infrastructure gaps and to maximize agricultural investment. Currently, Rs 26,064 crores have been sanctioned for 33,369 projects.

Vivek Singh
Representative Image (Krishi Jagran: Freepik)
Representative Image (Krishi Jagran: Freepik)

The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) scheme, launched in 2020, aims to bridge infrastructure gaps and attract investment in agriculture. It sought to facilitate medium to long-term debt financing for viable post-harvest management and community farming projects through incentives. The scheme targeted Rs 1 Lakh crore from banks and financial institutions, offering loans with 3% interest subvention and credit guarantees for amounts up to Rs 2 crores. Presently, Rs 26,064 crores have been sanctioned for 33,369 projects, yielding a total agricultural investment of Rs 44,208 crores.

A new component of the AIF Scheme, 'BHARAT' (Banks Heralding Accelerated Rural & Agriculture Transformation), was introduced. Running from July 15 to August 15, 2023, this initiative aims to maximize public benefits and foster competitiveness among banks, expediting loans for agricultural infrastructure projects. Exceptional performers, spanning commercial banks, regional rural banks, small finance banks, NBFCs, and cooperative banks, will be recognized after the campaign's conclusion. By July 31, 2023, multiple banks had approved Rs 1239 crores for 1375 projects within the BHARAT campaign.

A campaign was launched in July 2023, involving over 100 banking executives, including Managing Directors, Chairmen, and Executive Directors from various financial institutions such as commercial banks, regional rural banks, small finance banks, NBFCs, and cooperative banks. The campaign's progress is shared daily with participating banks through messages, fostering enthusiasm and competition, and motivating them to exceed their goals.

Regular communication is maintained with bank executives through various channels to assess campaign performance and encourage slower participation. Banks are encouraged to pursue targets with a focus on agricultural infrastructure projects, with positive responses so far.

The ministry sets annual Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) targets for banks based on their client base, reach, agricultural contribution, and past performance. AIF Nodal Officers are appointed in bank head offices to oversee AIF Scheme implementation from application to reimbursement. Periodic interactions with bank executives and Nodal Officers assess scheme progress and provide guidance, as seen in the "Bankers are Anchors" program held at NABARD HQ in December 2022.

The ministry conducts capacity-building sessions at Bankers' Training Colleges and awareness programs via video conferencing to promote the AIF Scheme. These efforts demonstrate the banking sector's strong interest. Award ceremonies honor outstanding bank executives and teams. Social media groups connect AIF teams from various banks, facilitating communication, addressing challenges, and providing support for increased lending towards agricultural infrastructure.

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