Reported by: banking|Updated: October 11, 2019
Since Goa has a service sector-driven economy, the state has limited scope for agriculture. However, with nearly 38% of the population living in rural areas, 35% of the geographical area covered under forest and gross cropped area of 149,000 hectares in the state, it is possible that rural cooperatives can contribute their mite for the development of agriculture and rural development in the state.
Goa State Cooperative Bank is the apex cooperative bank in the 2-tier cooperative credit structure in Goa. It operates through 59 branches, of which 34 are in rural areas and 25 in semi-urban areas. In addition, 79 PACS, mostly referred to as Vividh Karyakari Sahakari Saunsthas, or VKSS, operate in the state.
NO DCCB OR RRB
As per the State Focus Paper of Goa prepared by NABARD, the state is well-banked and the network comprises a state cooperative bank, 15 scheduled urban cooperative banks and 733 bank branches belonging to 37 commercial banks, as of 2018-19. UCBs have 85 branches in the state. The Goa State Cooperative Bank is now being bifurcated with the setting up of a separate apex bank for Diu & Daman territories. Following this, the Goa State Cooperative Bank would focus on rendering banking services in Goa only. The state does not have any district central cooperative banks or regional rural banks or land development banks. There are, however, several urban and rural cooperative societies, NBFCs and MFIs.
ROLE OF PACS
VKSS in Goa provide credit facilities to their members and are part of the public distribution system, selling provisions at subsidized rates to the rural households. Many VKSS sell agricultural inputs, mainly fertilizers, to farmers. Some provide other services such as providing hardware, farm equipment, pipes, water containers, condiments, fast food, beverages, etc. Kamakshi Pai, who is general manager of NABARD in Goa, says PACS have an edge over the branches of commercial banks in the state as they are member-centric and member-driven institutions and can provide credit plus services, besides being very close to rural communities.
NABARD HELPS PACS
NABARD has been supporting VKSS in Goa for creating banking infrastructure like safes and vaults, teller counters, cash counters, filing cabinets, furniture, CCTV cameras and intrusion detection systems, through its Cooperative Development Fund. For example, it has supported the Paroda VKSS to transform into a multi-service center by extending a grant cum loan assistance. Says Kamakshi Pai: “A grant of Rs421,000 has been given to the VKSS during the last 3 years to enable them to provide quality services to their clientele, improve credibility of the societies and enhance the overall image in their service area.”
NABARD has also been conducting workshops for chairmen and secretaries of VKSS as also for the branch managers of the state cooperative bank, providing inputs on business diversification and increasing profitability through sustainable means by expanding client base.
The Goa State Cooperative Bank has disbursed agricultural loans to the extent of Rs809.4 million during 2018-19, with a share of 15% in the agricultural credit flow in the state. The overall credit disbursed by the bank for priority sectors aggregated Rs1.24 billion during 2018-19, with a share of 3.15%.
As many farmers in Goa lack land titles, JLG lending is expected to help give them access to institutional finance. NABARD provides incentives for facilitating JLG formation and capacity building of stakeholders in addition to extending 100% refinance support to banks on their JLG lending portfolio. Kamakshi Pai says the new generation banks have also taken JLG route for financing marginal/small farmers and micro entrepreneurs. “As on 31 March 2018, we have 2673 JLGs in Goa with a total loan outstanding of Rs 314.3 million,” says she.
The Goa State Cooperative Bank came on the CBS platform in March 2012. NABARD has provided a grant assistance of Rs1.62 million to the bank for issue of 1400 RuPay Kisan Credit Cards to farmers and deployment of 100 micro-ATMs in the unbanked areas of the state. The bank has since been on-boarded to the PFMS platform with the support of NABARD. This will help the bank’s customers to get benefits under various government DBT schemes. Also, as a part of digitization of the bookkeeping process in the SHGs, NABARD has onboarded 1150 SHGs on the eShakti platform of which over 400 SHGs are credit linked with the state cooperative bank.”
TURN AROUND PLAN
NABARD has facilitated formulation of a ‘Comprehensive Turn Around Plan’ for the state cooperative bank. As against the stipulated 9% CRAR as per RBI guidelines, the bank has a negative CRAR. To comply with CRAR requirements, recapitalization is required to be done by the state government. Kamakshi Pai says NABARD has envisaged various strategies for the bank for improving HR skilling, business strategies and client and product base expansion. “I expect the bank to emerge as a leader in the cooperative movement in Goa,” says she.