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Thursday, Jan 10, 2002

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PSBs incentive to staff for farm credit

Rajalakshmi Menon

MUMBAI, Jan. 9

BANKS, finding it difficult to meet the agricultural credit targets, are offering special incentives to employees in rural branches to better their performance.

Besides pay hike and promotions, the special offer to the staff includes study tour, transfer to chosen locations and direct access to top brass in the bank.

State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest bank, has introduced a novel scheme - The Green Channel Programme - to motivate its staff to cultivate farmers as potential customers.

An officer in an SBI branch in a village can have the privilege of talking directly to the Chairman or the Managing Director. He can also get special prizes including a free study tour of places of historical importance. All he has to do is to meet the business targets.

As against the RBI-stipulated 18 per cent target in agricultural credit, SBI could achieve only 15.39 per cent as on September 2001. Recovery in agricultural credit has also remained stagnant at 62 per cent.

Following the recommendations laid down by the R.V. Gupta Committee on Agricultural Credit, which said that there should be greater incentives for branch managers to promote agricultural finance in rural areas, the bank has introduced the scheme.

Aimed at bringing about a spirit of competition among branches, the Green Channel Programme for Excellence was conducted in all circles for bank officers in Scale Two or Three.

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