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Kisan Credit Card: A Farmer's Financial Band-Aid

India, being a predominantly agricultural-sector economy, refers to farmers as the "backbone of the country". Rightfully so, these farmers deserve to live a life of dignity which they are more often than not, denied. However, attempts have been made to amend this injustice.

National Farmers' Day or the Kisan Diwas is celebrated all over the country on the 23rd of December to commemorate the sacrifices made and hard work put in by the farmers of our nation. In addition to this acknowledgement, the central government has introduced multiple schemes to help farmers in their agricultural practices. The Kisan Credit Card is one such initiative.

The Kisan Credit Card was initially launched in 1998 to provide short-term credit to agricultural practitioners and was brought into action by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). With this credit card, farmers can borrow short-term loans to meet their cultivation and other expenses at interests as low as 2-4%.

Here's a quick glimpse of the features and benefits of the Kisan Credit Card:

  • The card provides credit to farmers to meet expenses of their agricultural practices as well as any allied activities, in addition to covering post-harvest costs
  • Provision of investment capital for agricultural necessities such as pump sets for irrigation purposes, dairy animals for ploughing and so on
  • In addition to borrowing a loan of up to ₹3 Lakhs, farmers can also get loans to market their produce post-harvest season when the prices are relatively lower
  • The card also offers insurance coverage of ₹50,000 if the farmer suffers a permanent disability and ₹25,000 for other related issues
  • In addition to the card, farmers that are eligible will get a savings account in their name with a debit card and a smart card
  • The repayment options for the loan is flexible and thus can be tailored to make it convenient for the farmer
  • The disbursement process is hassle-free and hence requires minimal documentation
  • The credit can be borrowed for a period of 3 years and repaid post-harvest season
  • The card offers a single credit service to cover all agricultural and other subsidiary requirements
  • Loans of up to ₹1,60,000 can be borrowed without pledging a collateral
  • The eligibility criteria for the Kisan Credit Card are stated below:

    • Individual farmers who are also owner-cultivators
    • Those belonging to a group and are also joint borrowers, provide the group is also an owner-cultivator
    • Oral lessees, sharecroppers and tenant farmers
    • Joint liability groups (JLG) or Self-help groups (SHG) of tenant farmers, sharecroppers and so on
    • Agricultural practitioners involved in activities like animal husbandry, in addition to non-farming activities like fishermen

    Apart from those mentioned above, the beneficiaries that are eligible under the category of animal husbandry and fisheries are discussed below:

    • Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries: Fishers, JLGs, fish farmers, women groups and SHGs. However, it is essential that as a beneficiary you either lease or own an activity that is related to fisheries. It could be in the form of a pond, a tank, a hatchery, and so on
  • Poultry: Joint borrowers, JLGs, individual farmers, SHGs and tenant farmers that own, rent, or have leased sheds
  • Marine Fisheries: Individuals that own a fishing vessel such as a registered boat and possess the licence to fish in the sea or other water bodies
  • Dairy: JLGs, farmers, SHGs , tenant farmers and dairy farmers that have a shed that is either owned, leased, or rented
  • Given below are the documents that you will have to submit for the Kisan Credit Card:

    • The application form that is duly filled and signed
    • Proof of identities such as Voter ID, Aadhar card, Driver's licence, PAN card and the like
    • Proof of address such as PAN card, Voter ID, Aadhar card, Driver's licence and so on
    • Documents of the agricultural land
    • Most recent passport-size photograph
  • Other documents requested by the bank such as post-dated checks, etc.
  • The procedure to be followed for the application for the Kisan credit card is as follows:

    For online application of the card

    • Go to your preferred bank's website
    • Opt for the Kisan Credit Card
    • Click on "Apply"
    • You will be redirected to a new page where you will have to fill in the required fields and click "Submit"
  • You will receive an application reference number
  • The bank will reach out to you in 3-4 business days if you meet all the eligibility requirements
  • For the offline application of the card

    • Visit the bank that you prefer
    • A bank representative will guide you through the application process
    • On completing all the formalities, the bank will instruct you on further procedures

    Having read about the Kisan Credit Card, it is impossible to miss out on what the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme is. This was an initiative announced during 2019's Interim Union Budget by the Indian government that allows farmers of all walks of life to borrow up to ₹6,000 each year as income support. The government is now making strides to ensure that all farmers across the country are able to access institutional credit for all their agricultural needs. Those that are beneficiaries of the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme are now eligible for a Kisan Credit Card as well.

    The Kisan Credit Card was envisioned as an initiative to help farmers get the necessary monetary assistance they desperately need. The scheme aims at offering sufficient and well-timed credit support from banking institutions under a single policy to agricultural practitioners to help them with cultivation as well as other ancillary services.

    At a low-interest rate of 2%, the Kisan Credit Card provides a loan of up to ₹3,00, 000 with a flexible repayment plan to reduce the pressure of loan repayment that farmers are often burdened with. Additionally, the insurance cover provided by the card helps cushion the blow of any unexpected disasters that might hamper the lifestyle of the farmer and his family.