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Amit Shah launches rural banks digitalisation scheme, to ensure easy credit to farmers

Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah has rolled out a Rs 120 crore computerization initiative for Agricultural and Rural Development Banks (ARDBs) spread across 13 states, a move aimed at swifter loan approvals and enhanced transparency in rural credit access for millions of farmers.

The initiative will link 1,851 units of ARDBs located in 13 States and UTs them with NABARD through Common National Software.

Launching the project in New Delhi, Union Home and Cooperation Minister Shah said that the computerization of ARDB branches will greatly benefit the 1.2 crore farmers associated with them.

Furthermore, Shah said, the programme will reduce transaction costs, facilitate loan distribution to farmers, and enable real-time data access for better monitoring and assessment of schemes.

Under the Digital India initiative of the Modi Government, Shah said the cooperation has also started reaching villages through digitally.

He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has modernized the entire cooperative system starting from the Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACSs), computerization of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies offices of the states, and Agricultural and Rural Development Banks.

The Cooperation Minister said that both these schemes will cost approximately Rs 225 crore, out of which Rs 120 crore will be spent on ARDBs and Rs 95 crore will be spent on RCSs.

He said that this would increase transparency and accountability and a facility for farmers, seeking medium and long-term loans.

Over the past two years, the Modi government has taken several measures to bolster the digital infrastructure within the cooperative sector.

The Modi government has worked with a far-reaching vision in a phased manner to enhance the digital ecosystem in cooperatives, Shah said, adding that immediately after the formation of the Ministry of Cooperation, first the 65000 PACS, the Central Registrar of Cooperatives and then the PACSs along with all the district and state cooperative banks were computerized.

After this, the national cooperative database was created and now with the computerization of ARDBs and RCSs, the entire cooperative sector is entering the digital world today.

He said that modern and people-friendly software for computerization of 65,000 PACS has been prepared by NABARD and all PACSs will now be connected with it.

Similarly, he added, the work of computerization of the Central Registrar Office has also been completed, so that all the work of this office can be done with a single software.

Shah said that through the National Cooperative Database, accurate information about cooperatives at the state, tehsil, district, and village level will be known so that a framework can be prepared for the development of the cooperative sector. He said that the National Cooperative Database will prove to be very useful in filling the vacuum.

This digitalisation initiative of the Ministry of Cooperation will work to enhance the operations, efficiency, accountability, and transparency of ARDB by standardising business processes through the Common Accounting System (CAS) and Management Information System (MIS).

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