Provide interest-free education loans: Kodiyeri

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KOZHIKODE: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has called upon cooperative banks to give interest-free education loans.He also urged the banks to increase financial assistance to farmers. Inaugurating the valedictory session of the State-level programmes organised to mark the 54th all-India Cooperative Week celebrations, Mr. Balakrishnan said greater involvement of cooperative sector banks had become necessary as the attitude of nationalised banks towards education loans was flawed.

He said that the cooperative banks were much more student-friendly in sanctioning education loans. In the last three years, these banks disbursed about Rs.46 lakh as education loans.The Minister called upon cooperative bank managers to make a much more vigorous intervention in this field. He wanted the co-operative sector banks to set aside a portion of their profit for disbursing education loans.

Defending his demand, Mr. Balakrishnan said such a generous help was called for since there had been instances of students who were unable to go for higher studies due to financial distress committing suicide.The Minister reminded managers of cooperative banks that they had to be generous in helping the government to implement its promise to provide housing for all in the next two years. About Rs.5000 crore would be needed for this project.

Of the project cost, as much as Rs.4000 crore was expected from the cooperative banks as loans. These loans would be repaid by the government later.Mr. Balakrishnan said the most eloquent proof of the growing confidence of the people in the cooperative banks was the growth in volume of deposits which touched Rs.50,000 crore.What had to be appreciated was that of the deposits mobilised, Rs.45000 crore was disbursed as loans locally. Nationalised banks however had been giving loans mostly outside the State.

While the cooperative banks had been helping farmers in a big way, the local needs for vegetables, eggs and even flowers had to be met through imports from neighbouring States, the Minister said urging the cooperative banks to strengthen their intervention in the agriculture sector.M.K. Raghavan, MP, A. Pradeep Kumar, MLA, P.T. Gopala Kurup, chairman- Milma, district panchayat president K.P. Kunhammedkutty and M Mehboob, chairman, district cooperative bank, also spoke.

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