Agenda for India: Finance presents “Agenda for India”. Series editor is Charu Bahri.

According to chartered accountant Abdur Rauf Shaikh, Founder of Shaikh A A & Associates, “Agricultural finance is one of the foremost challenges facing the Indian financial sector.”

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“The system of disbursing loans to farmers needs to be thoroughly revamped, such that it is linked to the productivity of farm land. At present, land holdings are so fragmented that loans often prove to be inefficient and have to be written-off. If scattered farm land were to be unified, investments would yield more returns. Farmers would also be better equipped to withstand the vagaries of Nature, such as drought or floods. The government should form and develop an agency to take up this work in earnest, which should also offer expert inputs to the farm sector as well as explain the importance of availing of crop insurance.”

“The government also needs to look into finance offered for the development of infrastructure. When it comes to infrastructure, India presently lags behind other developed and developing countries. Easier access to loans offered at competitive rates would help more construction companies come forward to assist the government in the task of expanding our infrastructure.”

“Educational finance is another major challenge. Quality education is the only way we can enhance the quality of lifestyle of our people. Nowadays, a lot many private educational institutions are coming up, but poor children do not have access to these schools. Actually, the aim of the educational system at a schooling level should be to create a strong foundation so that children can compete for entry to higher education courses, or opt for self-employment by taking up vocational short-term courses. But at present, banks only disburse loans for higher education. The government should widen the availability of educational loans so as to also cover schooling.”

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