Kolkata– Amid the nationwide uproar regarding the $1.8 billion banking fraud, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday accused banks of not providing credit to farmers and self-help groups who repay loans while defaulters are always obliged by the lenders.

“Banks are not providing loans to farmers who used to repay their debt. But lenders are providing advances to those who defaulted to repay. Self-help groups, poor people are deprived of availing credit from banks. We must pursue this in bankers’ (state level banking committee meeting) meeting to know what bankers want,” Banerjee said in an administrative meeting in Jhargram district.

“And yet special people are being given thousands of crores of rupees. Why this fraud?”

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), which had unveiled “State Focus Paper for 2018-19” and “Area Development Scheme for West Bengal 2018-2023”, showed ground level credit flow to the agriculture sector in West Bengal had not achieved the targets during 2011-12 to 2016-17.

State Additional Chief Secretary, Finance, H.K Dwivedi had recently said commercial banks’ credit advance to agriculture and allied sector has been “dismally low” leading to a low credit-deposit ratio in the eastern state.

According to Nabard, state credit potential of Rs 1,10,137.19 crore has been estimated for 2018-19 as against a potential of Rs 95,288 crore for 2017-18, which is an increase of 15.58 per cent.

Of the total credit projections for 2018-19, around Rs 63,196 crore was estimated for agriculture. (IANS)