New Delhi: Owing to the pessimistic approach of the states, the UPA Government’s ambitious project to strengthen the Regional Rural Banks (RRB) has proved a damp squib. As a result of the lackadaisical approach of the state, the fund approved by the Centre for the project is lying unutilized and the efforts to raise the agricultural loans have gone in waste.

Be it the Congress-led government in Maharashtra, BJP-led government in Madhya Pradesh or BSP government in Uttar Pradesh, the lack of cooperation has marred the ambitious project.

In 2009, the Centre had come up with a plan to upgrade and improve the condition of 86 RRBs in the country till 2012 with a total expense of Rs 2,200 crore.

According to an agreement among the Centre, Banks and States, the expense for the project was to be divided in the ratio of 50:35:15. In the budgets of 2010-11 and 2011-12, Rs 500 crore each were allotted for the project. Depicting a sorry picture, only Rs 66.49 crore could be utilized in the last financial years, whereas a mere Rs 31.25 crore has been used in the ongoing fiscal.

In a meeting of various public banks, the issue was raised before Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The State Governments who had agreed to the project are now reluctant to shell out their share of money.

Agricultural loans worth Rs 50,500 crores are to be distributed this year which require the banks to fulfill certain norms. But the laid back attitude of the states has made it a distant dream.

Even though some states have to approve a small amount for the project, but they are reluctant to do so.

The Uttar Pradesh government has to contribute a mere Rs 5.78 crore for the Kshetriya Kisan Gramin Bank and Rs 12.75 crore for the Baroda Uttar Pradesh Gramin Bank. Whereas the Uttarakhand government has to approve Rs 2.25 crore on Uttaranchal Gramin Bank and Rs 75 lakh on Nainital Almora Kshetriya Gramin Bank (KGB), Bihar has to contribute a sum of Rs 3.38 crores for Samastipur KGB and Rs 6.45 crores for Bihar KGB. The Jharkhand government has to sanction Rs 8.40 crores for Vananchal Gramin Bank and Rs 6.40 crores for Jharkhand Gramin Bank.

(JPN/Bureau)