Is the credit that’s supposed to be fuelling India’s agriculture actually going to the farmers who need it the most? This is the question that Nabard chairman Prakash Bakshi raised on Tuesday when he pointed out that one-fourth of the money is disbursed in February and March, which isn’t farming season. Besides that, only one-third of the amount is loaned during the peak kharif season.
The Reserve Bank of India said earlier that there was a need for better data on the farm sector, which is of a piece with the oft-repeated sentiment that the quality of official figures has to be drastically improved so that they can be safely used when drawing up policy.
The need for better information is critical given that the Planning Commission is pushing to ensure that the sector grows at 4% in 2012-17. At stake are food inflation and getting the economic growth trajectory back on track.