Chandigarh: The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on Wednesday said the financial aid extended to Punjab touched Rs 5,690.16 crore in 2010-11, marking a jump of 24 per cent from last year’s assistance.

“There has been an increase of 24.37 per cent in financial assistance (refinance and loan) to Punjab by NABARD for bringing about sustainable development of agriculture, allied activities and strengthening of rural infrastructure,” NABARD Chief General Manager, SC Kaushik said in a press brief.

NABARD extended credit for crop loans to the tune of Rs 4,275 crore to Punjab State Cooperative Bank and three regional rural banks last fiscal.

This credit is extended at a concessional rate of interest of 4 per cent per annum for disbursement of loans to farmers at 7 per cent interest with a relief of 2 per cent for regular payers.

However, Kaushik expressed concern over the declining recovery rate of the primary agriculture development bank in the state. “The recovery rate of primary banks in Punjab stands at 59 per cent, which is quite low compared with recovery in other states,” he noted.

Kaushik also said the thrust area for NABARD would now be to promote the establishment of rural godowns for food grains storage in view of insufficient space in the state.

Observing that tractors are not working to the optimum level of usage in the state, Kaushik said that NABARD had asked banks to finance innovative farm implements like happy seeders and laser levelers etc.