New Delhi: With a majority of its population dependent on agriculture, Haryana on Friday sought sufficient availability of credit at reasonable rates and favourable repayment schedule for the sector.

Credit should be offered at not more than four percent interest for farm operations and not more than seven percent for meeting non-agricultural needs of farmers, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda at a meeting of Chief Ministers of northern states with Finance Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi.

These recommendations were earlier made by the Working Group on Agriculture constituted by the Prime Minister and headed by Hooda.

Hooda also impressed upon the Centre to ask banks to meet the target set for the debt swap scheme for farmers, reduce the premium under the Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) or subsidise it and hike the compensation under the Aam Admi Bima Yojna from Rs 75,000 to Rs one lakh.

"As recommended by the Working Group on Agriculture constituted by the Prime Minister, credit should be made available at not more than four percent interest for agricultural purposes. The interest rate for non-agricultural needs of the farmers should also not be more than seven percent," Hooda said.

The Chief Minister said banks seemed reluctant to implement the Debt Swap Scheme. He said against the target of bringing three percent agricultural loans under the scheme, only 0.3 percent have been covered and urged the government for taking steps to ensure that banks achieved the target.

Hooda also demanded reduction in the premium of WBCIS or provide adequate subsidy, saying that even though the scheme was hassle-free and farmer-friendly, its higher premium posed an obstacle.

(Agencies)

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