Agriculture loans worth Rs 10,253 crore disbursed by Syndicate Bank have turned into non-performing assets (NPAs) in the last five fiscal years until March 2018, revealed an RTI query.

The NPA of the public sector bank increased in the last three fiscals, with the bad loans soaring to Rs 3,851 crore in 2017-2018, according to the details obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. Noida-based engineer and RTI activist Amit Gupta had sought to know from the bank the amount of loans given to farmers till 2018 and how much of that had turned NPAs till last year.

As per the bank’s reply, the NPA in the agricultural sector was Rs 962 crore in 2013-14, Rs 1,658 crore in 2014-15, Rs 1,536 crore in 2015-16, Rs 2,246 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 3,851 crore in 2017-18. “The agricultural NPAs of the bank show an almost four-fold rise in the last five years which suggests that NPAs are not restricted only to the business sector,” Gupta said.

The RTI activist further said that he has sought a similar information from other banks too, and also from the Reserve Bank of India and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). “Their response is awaited,” he added.

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