KSCARD is said to be the first of such banks in the country to introduce a housing loan scheme. It was also the first to introduce credit cards for farmers and short-term loans and consumer loans for small-scale traders.

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan. 16

THE Kerala State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (KSCARD), which is into its Golden Jubilee year, has announced a slew of welfare schemes for members.

One of the schemes, titled "good paymaster scheme", envisages five per cent deduction in interest for those who do not default on repayment of instalments. This is applicable to all farm loans, the repayment of which begin on January 1, 2006.

The upper limit of interest deduction is Rs 500 per loan. The bank is implementing the scheme at a cost of around Rs 3 crore, said Mr K. Sivadasan Nair, President of KSCARD.

The bank is also introducing a free accident insurance scheme for all members of the primary cooperative societies. The scheme offers insurance compensation of up to Rs 1 lakh to members who meet with accidents.

Another scheme is for extending financial assistance for treatment to those members suffering from terminal diseases and are unable to repay the loans in time. This scheme is available to those who have been making the repayment without default.

The bank has also announced awards for "ideal farmers" to be selected from among its members.

The award carries a first prize of Rs 1 lakh and a second prize of Rs 50,000 at the State level, while it will be Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000, respectively, at the district level.

Mr Nair said that the bank's loan outstanding had reached Rs 1,600 crore as of now, from Rs 92 lakh in 1957-58.

In 2004-05, it had disbursed Rs 334 crore, which was an all-time record.

During the current year, the bank has targeted loan disbursement of Rs 500 crore, of which it has achieved Rs 300 crore till date. In its 50 years of functioning, the bank has disbursed a total of Rs 3,738 crore in the State.

Mr Nair claimed that KSCARD was the first of such banks in the country to introduce a housing loan scheme. It was also the first to achieve total computerisation and to introduce credit cards for farmers and short-term loans and consumer loans for small-scale traders.

The bank, which has been operating in profit since inception, made a net profit of Rs 12.5 crore in the last financial year.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 17, 2006)
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