ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NORTH-Plugging the Leaks

Plugging the Leaks THE Punjab government started the New Year with an all-out bid to augment its revenues. This it tried to do by seeking the co-operation of the neighbouring states to plug a leak in its sales-tax revenues and by pressing its claim for an equitable share of development finance from commercial banks. Addressing the Regional Consultative Committee of nationalised banks on January 2, the State Finance Minister, Hans Raj Sharma, urged the banks to expand credit facilities, particularly in the rural areas, and to grant financial help to official and semi-offcial organisations. While the newly-established bank branches in the state have; succeeded to some extent in mopping up savings, they have not made much headway in providing credit to small and medium farmers, artisans, petty shopkeepers and new entrepreneurs. Many potential borrowers belonging to these categories are not in a position to offer tangible assets as security, nor can they afford to pay the banks' normal, commercial rates of interest. Besides, fanners with holdings of less than 10 acres are not eligible for tractor or tubewell loans which keeps bank assistance out of the reach of about 00 per cent of Punjab's fanners who have holdings of less than 10 acres.

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