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Evaluation of Adequacy of Incentives under NHB Soft Loan Scheme for PHI Facilities In Maharashtra

Shah, Deepak (2007): Evaluation of Adequacy of Incentives under NHB Soft Loan Scheme for PHI Facilities In Maharashtra. Published in: Indian Journal of Agricultural Marketing , Vol. Volume, No. September-December Issue, No. 3 (10 December 2001): pp. 14-25.

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In order to curb post-harvest losses of horticultural produce and attract private investment in the horticulture industry, the National Horticulture Board (NHB) had initiated soft loan schemes (SLSs) in 1993-94. Under these schemes, soft loan assistance with a maximum limit of Rs. 1.00 crore is provided at the rate of 4 per cent service charges per annum with one year moratorium period to set up projects related to marketing, processing and also export oriented units and purchase of plants and machinery for the same. The state of Maharashtra received the maximum assistance under the scheme. The present investigation is an attempt to evaluate the NHB soft loan schemes for the state of Maharashtra, specially with respect to the post-harvest infrastructure (PHI) facilities created and adequacy of incentives under the scheme. This study has made some interesting observations. The focus of this study is specifically on two grape growers’ societies. The study showed a positive impact of soft loan scheme towards development of PHI facilities in the area. However, in order to improve the efficiency of the soft loan schemes, the study also suggested various measures which mainly revolved around simplification of loan procedure adopted by the NHB, timely disbursement of the loan, financing of the entire comprehensive project rather than for certain specific components, subsidization of electricity tariffs for the processing units, subsidization of sea freight, provision of funds for setting up of Research and Development (R&D) unit for the marketing of produce, provision of foreign market intelligence for the exports of horticultural crops, etc. Participation of NCDC in working capital requirement of the grape growers’ societies is another suggestion of this study.

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