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The banking sector has changed a lot since independence. At the time of independence people had to wait in long lines to withdraw cash. Today, we have Automatic Teller Machines or ATM's where we can withdraw cash with the press of a button. Agriculturalists have benefited from the banking revolution as well. Today, bank branches of nationalised banks are available in almost every village in the farthest corners of the country. Let us take a look at how this developed.

The first bank of India known as the General Bank of India was established as early as 1786. Later on, especially in the early 1900's many new banks came into being. After independence the government took various steps to reform the banking sector. In 1955, the State Bank of India or SBI was created. Five years later, the seven subsidiary banks of the SBI were nationalised. Nationalisation of banks picked up pace in 1969, when 14 banks were nationalised. The second phase of nationalisation was carried out in 1980 when seven other banks were nationalised. After this, around 80 percent of the banking sector in the country came under government ownership. The faith of the public in the safety of banks rose and deposits saw a huge increase. This allowed the government to provide loans and credit for different purposes including agriculture.

In 1981, the government came out with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act that lead to the formation of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) - External website that opens in a new window. This organization is responsible for the flow of credit to agriculture and related industries.

In the late 1990's, the government launched the Kisan Credit Card Scheme in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India and NABARD. This scheme is meant to meet agricultural expenses of crop production, cultivation and contingency. It allows unlimited withdrawals and repayments. The adaptation of the Kisan Credit Card Scheme by different banks has lead to easy availability of agricultural credit and an increase in agricultural productivity. Other than this scheme, nationalised banks offer a variety of other agricultural loan options.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on:15-02-2011