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State Bank of India (SBI) reduces agriculture loan rates for drought-hit farmers


State Bank of India (SBI) has cut lending rates for farm and rural schemes as part of a drought relief package.The offers will be applicable to all agriculture loans disbursed between April 1, 2009 and up to March 31, 2010.

The bank has cut interest rate on crop loans of Rs 3-25 lakhs to a fixed 10 percent from the existing 11.75-12.75 percent floating rate.

For irrigation schemes, up to Rs 25 lakhs the bank has reduced the lending rate to 8-9 percent from the existing 10.50-13.25 percent.

An extra one percentage point of interest concession would be given to farmers who repay loans on time, it added.



India's June-August rains were almost a quarter less than normal, the driest spell in near four decades, and has hurt summer-sown crops and driven up food price by 14.5 percent.

State Bank's total agriculture loan outstanding is Rs 57,000 crore as against Rs 46,000 crore in the year-ago period. The lender has disbursed Rs 6,000 crore worth fresh agriculture loans in the current fiscal. SBI has around 70 lakh customers in the agriculture portfolio.

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