Banks in J&K lag behind in lending artisans

Of Rs 97.9 cr annual target, only Rs 10 cr disbursed so far
Banks in J&K lag behind in lending artisans
Representational ImageFile/ GK

Srinagar: Amid claims of government to uplift the plight of poor artisans, the financial institutions working in Jammu and Kashmir continue to adopt miser approach towards craftsmen.

Though the government of J&K has introduced slew of initiatives to encourage youth towards handicraft, handlooms yet the banks are shying away from lending money to them. As per the official document accessed by Greater Kashmir has revealed that government has set an annual target of of Rs 97.9 crore to be disbursed among artisans in the UT as loans, but the banks have been just disbursed Rs 10 crore so far.

The approach of the banks towards has been viewed by the government ‘seriously’. Chief Secretary AK Mehta during a review meeting with banks has termed it “unsatisfactory performance” by banks while disbursing advances to artisans.

“It was informed that under Credit Card Scheme for Artisans and Weavers of Handicrafts and Handloom Sector against the annual target of Rs.97.90 Crore covering 5,000 beneficiaries, banks have disbursed Rs 10.09 Crore in favour of 728 beneficiaries during the period from 1.4.2021 to 31.8.2021 constituting 10% in financial and 14.56% in physical terms,” reads an official document.

“Chief Secretary stated that Credit Card Scheme for Artisans and Weavers of Handicrafts and Handloom sector is a special scheme designed and launched by Government of J&K with the objective of providing financial assistance by way of bank credit to the artisans and weavers of Handicrafts and Handlooms. The achievement viz-a-viz target was considered as unsatisfactory.”

Banks and concerned Government agencies to start a campaign for creating awareness among the targeted beneficiaries about the benefits of the Scheme. They need to synergise their efforts towards achieving the objective of the scheme. It is germane to state here that Jammu and Kashmir Government has earlier accorded sanction to renaming of “Credit Card Scheme for Artisans” in Handicrafts Sector and “Micro Credit Plan Scheme” for Weavers in Handloom Sector as “Credit Card Scheme for Artisans and Weavers of Handicrafts and Handloom Sector”.

It has also ordered enhancement of loan slab for artisans and weavers in Handicrafts and Handloom sector from existing ceiling to Rs 2.00 lakh with interest subsidy of 7% for a period of five years from the date of disbursement of the loan.

The objective of the Credit Card Scheme for Artisans and Weavers in Handicrafts and handloom sector is to provide adequate and timely assistance from the financial institutions to the Artisans and Weavers to meet their credit requirements of both investment needs as well as working capital in a flexible and cost-effective manner.

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