NABARD’s Role in Himachal Pradesh: A Look at Integrated Rural Development Initiatives



Discuss the Integrated Rural Development initiatives taken by NABARD in Himachal Pradesh. (HPAS Mains Question Paper 2022 – GS 3, Q.23)

NABARD has strengthened its association with the developmental process substantially for Integrated Rural Development in recent years through initiatives encompassing a wide range of activities, viz. Development of Rural Infrastructure, Micro Credit, Farmer Producer Organizations, Rural Farm and Non-Farm Sector, skill development, and increased Refinance, besides strengthening the rural credit delivery system in the State. In addition, NABARD is also implementing or is associated with specific centrally sponsored credit-linked subsidy schemes of the Government of India. 

1. Rural Infrastructure:

Since its inception in 1995-96, the development of infrastructure in rural areas through the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) has emerged as NABARD‟s primary intervention in partnership with the State Governments. Under this scheme, concessional loans are given to State Government and State-owned Corporations for the completion of ongoing projects and also to start new projects in specific selected sectors. Financing over the years has become broad-based, covering 39 eligible activities in agriculture and related sectors, the social sector and rural connectivity. 

2. Warehouse Infrastructure Fund:

One Controlled Atmosphere (C.A.) Store Project at Church, Chamba, with 500 MT capacity, is being implemented by HPMC for Modernization and Upgradation of Cold Stores into C.A. stores at Rohru, Oddi and Patlikuhal with a total of 3,480 MT.

3. Food Processing Fund:

NABARD established a Food Processing Fund (FPF) with a corpus of ₹2,000 crores in 2014-15 to provide financial assistance for selecting the designated food parks and also for setting up individual food/agro-processing units.

4. Refinance Support:

NABARD extended Long Term Refinance for diverse activities viz. rural housing, small road transport operators, land development, minor irrigation, dairy development, subgroup, farm mechanization, poultry, plantation, horticulture, sheep/goat/ piggery rearing, packing and grading house activity and other sectors to the tune of ₹646.00 crore during 2021-22

5. Transformation of PACS (Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies) as Multi Services Centres:

The scheme aims to convert around 35000 PACS to Multi-Service Centres (MSCs) across the country in the next three years in a structured manner.

6. Promotion of Farmers’ Producer Organization:

A Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) is a legal entity formed by primary producers, viz., farmers/milk producers and fishermen. An FPO can be a producer company, a cooperative society or any other legal form that provides for the sharing of profits/benefits among the members. The main aim of FPO is to ensure better income for the producers through an organization of their own. In Himachal Pradesh, NABARD has sanctioned a grant of ₹10.89 crore for the formation/promotion of 107 FPOs in all 12 districts. These FPOs will undertake the production, primary processing and marketing of vegetables, medicinal and aromatic plants, milk and flowers on an aggregation basis.

7. Watershed Development:

NABARD has sanctioned 38 Watershed Development Projects (Watershed and Spring Shed Project) in ten districts of the State. As of December 2021, an amount of ₹17.99 crore has been disbursed under these projects, covering 35,127 hectares, benefitting 237 villages with 78,031 beneficiaries. These projects will enhance the availability of water environment protection, increase the productivity and income of the farmers, conserve diminishing pastures and facilitate animal husbandry. The remaining two districts, i.e. Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti, shall be covered in the next financial year. 

8. Tribal development through Tribal Development Fund:

NABARD has sanctioned 12 Tribal Development projects till 31.12.2021 with a total grant of ₹18.33 crore covering 3,355 families. These projects aim at setting up WADIs (small orchards) as well as dairy units in selected villages covering about 2,355 acres of area for the plantation of Mango, Kinnow, Lemon, Apple, Walnut, Pear, and Wild Apricot. These projects are providing tribal people with an opportunity to raise their income level through the WADIs and Dairy initiatives. 

9. Support through Farm Sector Promotion Fund:

Under FSPF, till now, cumulative grant assistance of ₹32.13 crore for 31 projects has been sanctioned, benefitting around 16087 farmers. During the year 2021-22, one project has been approved with a grant support of ₹19.88 lakh with an objective to promote millets and traditional crops in district Kangra. More projects that shall enhance the income, as well as productivity of the farmers, shall be given priority under the fund.

10. NABARD Consultancy services:

NABARD Consultancy Services (NABCONS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of NABARD and is engaged in providing consultancy in all spheres of agriculture, rural development and allied areas. NABCONS leverages the core competence of NABARD in the areas of agricultural and rural development, especially multi-disciplinary projects, banking, institutional development, infrastructure, training, etc. 

NABCONS is involved in the following significant assignments during the current financial year:  

a.Project Management Consultancy for Integrated Cold Chain Project at Parala and Kharapathar to H.P. State Agricultural Marketing Board.

b.Setting up PMU (Project Management Unit) under the Agri-Infrastructure Fund (AIF) at the State Level in Himachal Pradesh.  

c. Third-party Impact Assessment of PM Adarsh Gram Yojna. 

d. Impact Evaluation Study of FPOs in Himachal Pradesh. 

e. Comprehensive Study of Handloom Sector in Himachal Pradesh.  

f.NABCONS is the Central Technical Support Agency for DDU-GKY in Himachal Pradesh.  

g.Third Party Survey of Toilets constructed by SJVN in four States.  

h.Third Party Inspection of Border Area Development Programme. 

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