Rehab of Flood-affected Priority: Rajan


PULWAMA: The Governor, Reserve Bank of India, Mr. Raghuram Rajan Thursday said supporting the flood-affected people of J&K and reviving their livelihood should be at the forefront of any relief and rehabilitation effort. He said empowering flood-affected people with means to sustaining their livelihood is crucial aspect of rehabilitation.

RBI Governor today visited Pulwama on the initiative of the State’s Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu to explore the possibility of how financial institutions can be co-opted in reviving the local economy and reaching out to the flood-affected. This is for the first time in the history of the district that RBI Governor visited Pulwama.

During his visit here, Dr Rajan, accompanied by Dr Drabu, interacted with the local representatives of trade, business, entrepreneurs, agriculturalists and Self Help Groups. The Self Help Groups mostly comprised women enterprisers who are successfully running localized income-generating units. He also interacted flood-affected people of Pampore, Rajpora, Awantipora, Littar, Kakapora and other areas of Pulwama district said that such type of calamities damage the economic pursuits of the affected people and as such warrant cooperation and active involvement of Government and financial institutions to restore normal commercial and economic activity.

The issues raised by the delegations with the RBI Governor included poor credit support from formal banking sector to agriculture and horticulture sectors, ensuring more proactive role of the financial institutions in the rehabilitation of the flood-affected, increasing credit-deposit ratio by banks, opening more bank branches in unbanked rural areas and reviving the cooperative banks.

The RBI Governor assured the delegations that the issues like streamlining and easing of the lending procedures by the banks and involvement of the banking sector in rehabilitation of the flood-affected would be addressed at the earliest in consultation with the State Government.

Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb A Drabu, Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Mr Neeraj Kumar, Senior RBI officials and other officers of District Pulwama were also present on the occasion. 

Mr Rajan said that he was very much impressed by the dedication of the local artists who despite suffering heavy losses due to floods and having not been able to sell their finished products are still willing to keep the traditional handicrafts alive and going.

Dr Rajan said, he would discuss with the State Finance Minister and other agencies as to how these beautiful products can be marketed in a big way outside the state so that Self Help Groups associated with these local crafts get better returns.

In response to the demands from Self Help Groups and flood-affected people regarding soft loans and interest waiver in favor of agriculturists, artisans, small business and trading establishments affected by floods, the RBI Governor said that the State Government has already taken some steps, however, he would take up the matter further with the Union Government and financial institutions and see what can be done in this regard.

Earlier, the Finance Minister, Dr. Haseeb A Drabu while welcoming the RBI Governor at district Pulwama, briefed him about the overall impact of flood and the measures taken by the Government to provide relief to the affected people. He said Government as a relief measure for the flood affected waived off 50% of KCC loans for the smallest and most vulnerable farmers who had an outstanding balance of Rs. 1 lakh thus benefiting close to 2 lakh KCC card holders. He said 89 villages of district Pulwama were badly affected during the floods and relief under SDRF norms has already been extended to the affected people like rest of the State. He said, however, more is needed to be done to provide appropriate relief to the people of the State. 

The locals hailed Dr Drabu’s initiative of inviting RBI Governor to visit the area.

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