National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is an apex development bank in India having headquarters based in Mumbai (Maharashtra) and other branches are all over the country. The Committee to Review Arrangements for Institutional Credit for Agriculture and Rural Development (CRAICARD), set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the Chairmanship of Shri B. Sivaraman, conceived and recommended the establishment of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
NABARD was established on the recommendations of Shivaraman Committee on 12 July 1982 to implement the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act 1981.
A special act by the parliament and its main focus was to uplift rural India by increasing the credit flow for elevation of agriculture & rural non-farm sector and completed its 25 years on 12 July 2007. It has been accredited with “matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India”.
NABARD was established in terms of the Preamble to the Act, “for providing credit for the promotion of agriculture, small scale industries, cottage and village industries, handicrafts and other rural crafts and other allied economic activities in rural areas with a view to promoting IRDP and securing prosperity of rural areas and for matters connected therewith in incidental thereto”.
Promoting sustainable and equitable agriculture and rural development through effective credit support, related services, institution building and other innovative initiatives. In pursuing this mission, NABARD focuses its activities on:
- Credit functions: involving preparation of potential-linked credit plans annually for all districts of the country for identification of credit potential, monitoring the flow of ground level rural credit, issuing policy and operational guidelines to rural financing institutions and providing credit facilities to eligible institutions under various programmes.
- Development functions: concerning reinforcement of the credit functions and making credit more productive.
- Supervisory functions: ensuring the proper functioning of cooperative banks and regional rural banks.
NABARD operates throughout the country through its 28 Regional Offices and one Sub-office, located in the capitals of all the states/union territories.
NABARD is also known for its ‘SHG Bank Linkage Programme’ which encourages India’s banks to lend to Self Help Group (SHGs). Because SHGs are composed mainly of poor women, this has evolved into an important Indian tool for microfinance.
NABARD also has a portfolio of Natural Resource Management Programmes involving diverse fields like Watershed Development, Tribal Development and Farm Innovation through dedicated funds set up for the purpose.