Financial Health of Credit Cooperatives in the state of Maharashtra in India: Case Studies of DCCCBs
An analysis encompassing two case studies conducted in forward and backward regions of Maharashtra (India) has shown deterioration in the financial health of central level credit cooperatives (Sangli District Central Cooperative Bank (SDCCB)) in forward region and gross inefficiency in their functioning (Buldana District Central Cooperative Bank (BDCCB)) in the backward region of the state, due mainly to their mounting NPAs or overdues’. Because of substantially high NPAs, the fixed expenses of these institutions have been adversely affected, which in turn have grossly affected the break-even levels of loan advances and deposits of these credit institutions, so much so that there has been huge gap between the break-even levels of loan advances and deposits and the actual loan advances and deposits. In the case of BDCCB, the deficit between actual and the break-even levels are so high (about 60 per cent) that it will be well-nigh impossible for it to overcome this situation. High transaction costs, poor repayment performance, and mounting NPAs are the root causes of the moribund state of rural credit delivery through these cooperatives. Further, it is to be noted that the estimated trend over the past two decades in Maharashtra shows a slower growth in institutional finances through credit cooperatives and also in their membership during the decade of economic reforms (1991-2000) as against the decade preceding it (1980-1990). On the other hand, the outstanding loans of these cooperatives have grown at much faster rate as compared to their loan advances during both pre- and post economic reform periods. The slower growth in institutional finance through credit cooperatives during the decade of 1991-2000 is mainly due to adverse environment created by the financial sector reforms. Due to unfavourable policy framework, much of the deposits of the credit cooperatives are going into investments, instead of advancing loans to the farming sector. As a result, the C-D ratios of these credit cooperatives have been adversely affected. With a view to revive agricultural credit delivery through cooperatives, the need of the hour is to adopt innovative approaches like linking of SHGs and NGOs with mainstream financial institutions, including cooperatives. Such linkages are reported to have not only reduced transaction costs but also ensured better repayment performance. In brief, in order to rejuvenate rural credit delivery system through cooperatives, the root problems facing the system, viz., high transaction cost, poor recovery performance, and NPAs, need to be tackled with more fiscal jurisprudence reserving exemplary punishment for willful defaults, especially by large farmers, and the individual cases who have borrowed credit from these institutions. In fact, insofar as rural credit delivery through credit cooperatives is concerned, the focus should be on strategies that are required for tackling issues such as sustainability and viability, operational efficiency, recovery performance, small farmer coverage and balanced sectoral development.
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