Patna, June 16: Two sick funding agencies would be revived to facilitate entrepreneurs in the state get loans faster.
Industries minister Bhim Singh said the two agencies — Bihar State Credit and Investment Corporation Limited (BICICO) and the Bihar State Financial Corporation (BSFC) — would be revived so that industrialists do not have to crib over the alleged non-cooperative attitude of banks for loans.
Also, the land scarcity for industries has caught the eyes of the minister. The state government is thinking of buying plots from landowners rather than acquiring it. In addition to this, the industries department will get in touch with other departments, which have unused plots in the districts to request them for land transfer so that they can be used in industrialisation.
“The two agencies — BICICO and BSFC — were formed under the State Financial Corporation Act, 1951. While the BSFC provides term loans to medium and small enterprises, the work of the BICICO is for industries in general. The loan amount would be in excess of Rs 90 lakh. Any amount as loan to an industrialist is a help for him as it allows them to expand, develop and set up their units. It has been learnt that the two agencies are almost defunct at present and are providing very little or no loans to the industries and entrepreneurs. Instructions have been given to the department to start the process of the revival of the agencies and make them financially strong and self-sustainable so that they could financially help the units. We hope that the two agencies start work soon,” Bhim said.
Following the minister’s statement, industry bodies described it a “commendable step”.
“It is definitely a good step. If the agencies work properly it would be of great help for the start-ups. We had requested the revival of the two agencies long back. The minister’s assurance is a commendable step forward,” said P.K. Agarwal, president, Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
There have been complaints from entrepreneurs that banks don’t provide them loans. “There have been many state-level bankers’ committee meetings in which such matters were raised. Also, in the udyami adalats (held every week), industrialists complain about banks not providing them loans. If the two agencies are revived, it will be a breather for the small units,” said Ajit Sharan, a Patna-based industrialist dealing in spices.
Sources in the department said rather than acquiring land through Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada), the state government was warming up to buy land directly from the landlords at current market rates.
“There are some policies which are afloat at present aiming at an increase in land for industries. Acquiring land is a problem and hence we don’t want to get into the process. Lately, there has been a positive approach among landowners who are coming forward and offering their plots. We will be cashing in on this. We will approach the landowners and buy land from them. We will be paying them according to the present market rates,” a department official said.
On Saturday, during a meeting with the officials of the Bihar Industries Association (BIA), Bhim Singh spoke about mid-term review of the industrial incentive policy and had said the department will think of other ways to get land for industrialisation purposes.
“We are also thinking of getting help from other departments. There are departments, which have their plots in different districts. Much of these plots are lying unused for years now. We would be identifying the plots and then contact the departments concerned, requesting them to transfer them to us for industrial use,” the officer said.