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Payment of Crop Loans is Badly Hit due to Currency Shortage: WB Government

The State Cooperative Bank disburses funds to district level lending institutions to provide crop loans to farmers

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crop loan
Indian Currency. Pixabay

Kolkata, November 25, 2016: The West Bengal government on Friday said disbursement of crop loans had been badly hit due to currency shortage, leading to dearth of funds in the entire chain of crop loan disbursement.

West Bengal Cooperation Minister Arup Roy said: “Due to currency crisis, the West Bengal State Cooperative Bank received only about Rs 132 crore in the last two weeks against the requisitions of Rs 400 crore from the RBI regional office.”

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The State Cooperative Bank disburses funds to district level lending institutions to provide crop loans to farmers.

“Demonetisation and cash shortage has disrupted the funds flow to the State Cooperative Bank, 17 district central cooperative banks (DCCBs) and about 5,300 working primary agricultural cooperatives (PACs).

“There has been a dearth of funds in the entire chain of crop loan disbursement. The crisis could lead to crop loss and subsequently to a food shortage and spike in the food inflation,” the minister said.

The West Bengal State Cooperative Bank, which caters to 15 lakh current borrowers, received about Rs 77 crore in the last four days, which is “nothing against the demand”, he said.

West Bengal Cooperation Minister Arup Roy. Wikimedia commons
West Bengal Cooperation Minister Arup Roy. Wikimedia commons

“Last year, in November we disbursed about Rs 300 crore for crop loans and in the current month our crop loan target is Rs 350 crore. Due to fund shortage, we are likely to end up much short of the monthly crop loan disbursement target.

“Loan disbursement for the entire Rabi season is going to be affected,” said an official from the State Cooperative Bank.

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The State Cooperative Bank has set a crop loan disbursement target of Rs 2,500 crore for the Rabi season in the current year and of Rs 3,350 crore for disbursement of crop loan in the current year. It had disbursed Rs 3,008 crore crop loan last year.

“The supply of high-denomination currency notes also create a problem in the crop loan disbursement at the PACs level. On Thursday, we received Rs 20 crore from RBI, of which Rs 19.80 crore was in Rs 2,000 denomination notes. It is a practical problem for disbursement of crop loan,” the official said.

It is estimated that about Rs 35,000 crore would be required by the DCCBs for sanction and disbursement of crop loans to the farmers at the rate of Rs 10,000 crore per week.

“The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, or Nabard, would be utilising its own cash credit limits up to about Rs 23,000 crore to enable the DCCBs to disburse the required crop loans to PACS and farmers,” the RBI said in a notification.

The RBI further said: “As many of these loans will be disbursed in cash to facilitate farming-related expenses, we advise in this regard that banks with currency chests should ensure adequate cash supply to the DCCBs and RRBs.

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“Adequate cash supply should also be ensured for rural branches of all commercial banks (including regional rural banks). Further, bank branches located in the agricultural produce market committees may also be given adequate cash to facilitate smooth procurement.” (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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