Government and other Fi­nan­cial Agen­cies as the pro­moter of Fish Cul­ture

Economic Challenger - - CONTENTS - - Bha­bananda Bayan & Dr. Man­jit Das


Fish cul­ture, an im­por­tant com­po­nent of pri­mary sec­tor of In­dia is an im­por­tant source of liveli­hood for a large sec­tion of ru­ral masses. Its con­tri­bu­tion to SDP of As­sam, em­ploy­ment and source of nu­tri­ous food to the peo­ple of As­sam has been tremen­dous. How­ever, this sec­tor has been suf­fer­ing from var­ied eco­nomic and non-eco­nomic prob­lems. One im­por­tant eco­nomic prob­lem is fi­nance. In this pa­per, an at­tempt is made to ex­plore the role of var­i­ous fi­nan­cial sources as well as Cen­tral and State Government in de­vel­op­ing fish cul­ture of the state of As­sam on the ba­sis of both pri­mary and sec­ondary data. Key­words: Fish cul­ture, pen cul­ture, credit-de­posit ra­tio.


The farm­ing of fish is an an­cient prac­tice. As­sam is en­dowed with vast and var­ied re­sources for aqua­cul­ture. There were 391368 hectares water spread ar­eas com­pris­ing 205000 hectares river fish­eries, 100815 hectares beels/ ox-box lakes, 5017 hectares for­est fish­eries, 29240 hectares derelict water bod­ies/swamps, 1713 hectares reser­voirs fish­eries, 39583 hectares ponds/tanks in 2009-10 . As­sam is rich in aquatic bio­di­ver­sity with 217 iden­ti­fied fish species, ge­netic river dol­phin, tur­tles, aquatic lizards, frogs, crabs, in­sects etc. along with many aquatic veg­e­ta­tion and in numer­ous zoo­plank­tons and phyto plank­tons in the vast flood plain wet lands, rivers and streams of As­sam . As­sam stood 6th po­si­tion in the in­land fish pro­duc­tion among all the states and union ter­ri­to­ries in In­dia and first among all the North­East­ern States in 2004-05 (Government of In­dia, 2005-06). Pro­duc­tion of fish in As­sam was 2.18 lakh tonnes in 2009-10 which is more than 70 per cent of to­tal N.E. states pro­duc­tion of fish . Rice and fish is the sta­ple food of the peo­ple of As­sam. For about 90 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion of the state, fish is an im­por­tant source of di­etary protein of­fer­ing the cru­cial nu­tri­tional se­cu­rity. To­tal num­ber of fam­ily mem­bers en­gaged in fish­ing oc­cu­pa­tion in­clud­ing male, fe­male and chil­dren both in ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas in As­sam was 390400 in 2003-04 which was 1.41 per cent of to­tal pop­u­la­tion of the state . It in­di­cates the enor­mous po­ten­tial, which the in­land fish­ery sec­tor of­fers. How­ever, this po­ten­tial­ity is not fully utilised to the best ad­van­tage of farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties in As­sam (Das and Bayan, 2011). Fi­nance is the key to the success of any eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity. The pro­vi­sion of ad­e­quate fi­nance at ap­pro­pri­ate time is of ba­sic im­por­tance for the smooth work­ing of the eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and for its success. Eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties need var­i­ous types of credit, namely, short term, medium term and long term credit de­pend­ing upon the level and type of in­vest­ment. But sim­ply, credit is not suf­fi­cient. Along with the credit, terms and con­di­tions as well as the rate of in­ter­est at which loan is avail­able is also im­por­tant. The avail­abil­ity of credit en­hances the pro­duc­tive ca­pac­ity of any en­ter­prise, whether small or big. The small en­trepreneurs, who of­ten suf­fer from the lack of credit, can also op­er­ate ef­fi­ciently un­der suit­able mar­ket struc­ture and other so­cio-eco­nomic con­di­tions and even can pay rea­son­ably high in­ter­est rate and also grow. It has al­ready been proved by Prof. Yunus through his con­tin­u­ous ef­forts in Bangladesh which is ap­pre­ci­ated and ac­knowl­edged world­wide. The con­ven­tional

no­tion of in­abil­ity of the small and poor en­trepreneurs to re­pay the loan, on the ba­sis of which they are dis­crim­i­nated against the big en­trepreneurs in grant­ing loan by the es­tab­lished bank­ing au­thor­i­ties in many places, has been proved wrong and hence credit should be ex­tended to all the mo­ti­vated hard work­ing en­trepreneurs who want to ex­tend their eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties.

The fi­nan­cial sources can be broadly di­vided into two cat­e­gories, namely, in­sti­tu­tional and non-in­sti­tu­tional. The in­sti­tu­tional sources are com­mer­cial banks in­clud­ing the Re­gional Ru­ral Banks (RRBs), Co- op­er­a­tives and the Government. On the other hand, non-in­sti­tu­tional sources con­sist of money­len­ders, traders and com­mis­sion agents, land­lords and rel­a­tives.

As very lim­ited stud­ies have been done on the eco­nomic as­pects of fish­cul­ture, avail­able lit­er­a­tures on it are very few. Most of the avail­able stud­ies are found mainly on mainly zoo­log­i­cal as­pects of fish­cul­ture. Some of them are Fish­ery Sci­ence and In­dian Fish­eries (Sri­vas­tava, 2002); A His­tory of Fishes (Norman, 1958); The Fishes (Lan­ham, 1962); In­land Fish­eries of In­dia and Ad­ja­cent Coun­tries (Vol­ume-1 and 2) (Tal­war and Jhin­gran, 1991); Fish­cul­ture in In­dia (Alikunhi, 1957); Fish and Fish­eries of In­dia ( Jhin­gran, 1982); An In­tro­duc­tion to Fishes (Khanna, 1988); Fishes (Chand, 1991) and Fishes of the World (Nel­son, 1984). How­ever, Das and Bayan (2011), Ku­mar et al (2009), Pazhani and Is­abella (2009), Sharma et al (2008), Goyal and Saran (2009), Shi­noj et al (2009), Ku­mar (2004), Hapke (2001), Sharma and Kha­juria (2009), Goswami (2009) stud­ied dif­fer­ent as­pects of fish­cul­ture in dif­fer­ent parts of In­dia. How­ever, there is no study on the role of government and dif­fer­ent fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to fish rear­ers of As­sam. Hence, the present study is ex­pected to fill the re­search gap.

The prime ob­jec­tive of the present study is to find out the role of government and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in ad­vanc­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to the fish rear­ers of As­sam as a whole and in the district of Bar­peta in par­tic­u­lar.

The study is based on both pri­mary and sec­ondary data. For the pur­pose of anal­y­sis, sec­ondary data on num­ber of bank branches, cred­its and de­posits in As­sam and in the district of Bar­peta, fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance given to the fish rear­ers by state and cen­tral government, etc have been col­lected from Di­rec­torate of Fish­ery, Government of As­sam, Di­rec­torate of Eco­nom­ics and Statis­tics, Government of As­sam, Government of In­dia and other of­fi­cial re­ports. Con­sul­ta­tions with the ex­perts of the said fields were also made for gath­er­ing rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion.

Also for the study, pri­mary data have been col­lected from 120 fam­i­lies cho­sen by mul­ti­stage sam­pling pro­ce­dure from the district of Bar­peta. There are 12 Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment (CD) blocks in the district. Fish cul­ture is prac­tised in all blocks, but mainly con­cen­trated in the CD blocks of Bha­ba­n­ipur, Man­dia and Pak­a­bet­bari. There­fore, th­ese three CD blocks were se­lected out of th­ese to­tal 12 CD blocks of the district of Bar­peta. Within th­ese three CD blocks, nine vil­lages namely Da­bali­a­para, Dhakali­a­para and Ka­jir­mill from Bha­ba­n­ipur CD block, Kayakuchi, Keot­para and SakirBhita from Pak­a­bet­bari CD block and 1 No. Bar­doloni, Di­gir­pam and Nalir­par from Man­dia CD block were se­lected by strat­i­fied random sam­pling method. From the nine vil­lages, to­tal 120 sam­ple fam­i­lies are se­lected on the ba­sis of the pro­por­tion of fam­i­lies of the three blocks en­gaged in such ac­tiv­i­ties in the re­spec­tive vil­lages. From each vil­lage, the sam­ple fam­i­lies are picked by sim­ple random sam­pling with­out re­place­ment from all the fam­i­lies prac­tis­ing fish cul­ture.

From each se­lected fam­ily, in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing pro­duc­tion of fish and seed fish in a year, num­ber of peo­ple en­gaged in this oc­cu­pa­tion, cost of ap­pli­ances of rear­ing, price of seed fish and ta­ble fish at which th­ese are sold, labour hour re­quired in pro­duc­tion, cost of pro­duc­tion, the prob­lem faced by rear­ers, other oc­cu­pa­tions of the fam­ily mem­bers, to­tal an­nual fam­ily in­come, their ed­u­ca­tional sta­tus, etc. have been col­lected through a pre-tested ques­tion­naire. In­ter­view method was adopted in the col­lec­tion of data. The sur­vey was con­ducted dur­ing July 2010 to April 2011. Sev­eral

sub­se­quent vis­its were also made to some of the sam­ple house­holds to clar­ify some doubts and con­firm some find­ings.


Al­most all the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions have been op­er­at­ing in As­sam. The ma­jor fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions op­er­at­ing in As­sam are com­mer­cial banks. Al­most all the na­tion­alised banks in­clud­ing SBI, RRB and other sched­uled com­mer­cial banks have been op­er­at­ing in the state. Apart from In­dian banks, one for­eign bank has also been run­ning its bank­ing busi­ness with only one branch in the state. To­tal num­ber of bank branches, their de­posit mo­bil­i­sa­tions and their de­ploy­ment of credit in As­sam are pre­sented in ta­ble-1. To­tal num­ber of bank branches op­er­at­ing in As­sam was 1434 as in March 2010 . On an av­er­age to­tal de­posit of a bank branch was Rs.34.55 crore in March 2010. Out of th­ese de­posits, credit granted per bank branch on an av­er­age was Rs. 12.77 crore in the same month. The credit de­posit ra­tio was about 36.96, which was com­par­a­tively much lower than in the devel­oped re­gions. Not only that, the credit de­posit ra­tio for the RRBs was only about 47.47 in March 2010 which in­di­cates that the loans ad­vanced by RRBs to the ru­ral sec­tor is not sig­nif­i­cant. Apart from th­ese banks, some Non- Bank­ing Fi­nan­cial In­sti­tu­tions (NBFIs) like LICI, GICI, SIDBI, IDBI, IFCI, ICICI, NABARD, etc are also op­er­at­ing in As­sam. Along with th­ese in­sti­tu­tional sources, some non­in­sti­tu­tional sources have also been en­gaged in credit mar­ket in the state.


Most of the ma­jor com­mer­cial banks have been in op­er­a­tion in the district. The num­ber of com­mer­cial banks op­er­at­ing in the district was 11 with 43 branches in March 2011. Out of th­ese branches, 20 branches are in ru­ral and only 23 branches are in ur­ban ar­eas. The ma­jor sched­uled com­mer­cial banks are UCO Bank, Syn­di­cate Bank, PNB, etc. Apart from th­ese com­mer­cial banks, one RRB called As­sam Gramin Vikas Bank has been op­er­at­ing with 18 branches (13 are in ru­ral and 05 are in ur­ban ar­eas) in the district as in March 2011. Along with this, one co-op­er­a­tive bank called The As­sam Co­op­er­a­tive Apex Bank Lim­ited has also been run­ning its bank­ing busi­ness in the district with three branches. Also, there is Land Devel­op­ment Bank in Bar­peta district with only one branch whose prime ob­jec­tive is to pro­vide long-term loan to the pri­mary sec­tor of the

econ­omy. The ag­gre­gate de­posits mo­bilised by 58 sched­uled com­mer­cial bank branches in the district were Rs.1113 crore, out of which Rs.480 crore was ad­vanced in the form of credit as in March 2010. Sim­i­larly, the ag­gre­gate de­posit mo­bilised by 17 RRB branches in the district were Rs.197 crore, out of which Rs.103 crore was ad­vanced in the form of credit as in March 2010 . There­fore, poor credit-de­posit ra­tio of sched­uled com­mer­cial banks and RRBs is an in­di­ca­tion of lim­ited role of th­ese banks in the gen­eral eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties and par­tic­u­larly in the ru­ral devel­op­ment of the district.

Along with the var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tional sources of fi­nance a num­ber of pri­vate sources of credit are also op­er­at­ing their busi­nesses within the district of Bar­peta. The ma­jor non­in­sti­tu­tional sources of fi­nance, op­er­at­ing in the district are money­len­ders, traders, com­mis­sion agents and rel­a­tives. Although it is not pos­si­ble to have ap­pro­pri­ate fig­ure of their num­ber and their credit de­ploy­ment over the years, it is no­ticed that they have been play­ing a piv­otal role in fi­nanc­ing both pro­duc­tive and un­pro­duc­tive ac­tiv­i­ties of ru­ral and ur­ban peo­ple. It is also ob­served that the rate of in­ter­est charged by th­ese pri­vate sources ranges from one per cent to fif­teen per cent per month, which is quite high in com­par­i­son with the in­sti­tu­tional credit sources.


Fish-cul­tur­ists need short-term as well as long-term credit as it is a costly ven­ture. They re­quire short-term loan to pur­chase seeds, feeds, rear­ing ap­pli­ances and for meet­ing other dayto-day ex­penses of rear­ing like pay­ment of wages to the hired labour (if any), etc. At the same time, the rear­ers need long-term credit to pur­chase land for fish­ery, con­struc­tion of eco hatch­ery etc to make the oc­cu­pa­tion com­mer­cially vi­able and prof­itable and ex­pand the ac­tiv­i­ties.

Although a num­ber of in­sti­tu­tional sources is avail­able in Bar­peta district as men­tioned ear­lier, there is a dearth of fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to sup­ply credit to fish cul­tur­ists. Dur­ing the field sur­vey, the poor and needy en­trepreneurs re­ported that they were un­able to ob­tain in­sti­tu­tional fi­nance be­cause of the te­dious and lengthy pro­ce­dure of sanc­tion­ing loans and rigid terms and con­di­tions. Be­sides, they have to pre­pare and sub­mit scheme and project report (which is very dif­fi­cult for them as most of them are ei­ther il­lit­er­ate or semi-lit­er­ate), ob­tain nonen­cum­brance and val­u­a­tion cer­tifi­cates from land record of­fi­cers for col­lat­eral se­cu­rity, search for guar­an­tor of loan etc, and what is more, the value of land of­fered as se­cu­rity in most cases falls far short of the norms in­sisted on by the in­sti­tu­tions for the re­quired amount of ad­vance as they are the owner of very small land. It was also found that some of the en­trepreneurs or needy rear­ers were not aware of the avail­abil­ity of in­sti­tu­tional fi­nance due to in­for­ma­tion gap or ig­no­rance on their part. How­ever, non­in­sti­tu­tional sources like money lenders /traders are al­ways ready to ad­vance credit to the needy rear­ers. It is be­cause of the fact that they can take away the ma­jor por­tion of in­come gen­er­ated in fish cul­ture in the form of in­ter­est . Ta­ble-2 pro­vides the distri­bu­tion of sam­ple fam­i­lies ac­cord­ing to the source of credit in the study area.

From ta­ble-2, it is ob­served that out of to­tal 120 fish cul­tur­ist fam­i­lies, 39 (32.5 per cent) fam­i­lies are de­pen­dent on their own source of fi­nance. It in­di­cates that self-fi­nance is the ma­jor source of fi­nance in fish cul­ture. Out of the three com­mu­ni­ties' de­vel­op­ments blocks, max­i­mum fish cul­tur­ist fam­i­lies of Pak­a­bet­bari (33.33 per cent) are de­pen­dent on their own fi­nance. Man­dia and Bha­ba­n­ipur blocks oc­cupy sec­ond (with 32.5 per cent) and third po­si­tion (with 32 per cent) re­spec­tively with re­spect to self-fi­nance in fish cul­ture.

Next im­por­tant source of fi­nance in fish cul­ture is bank. It pro­vides loans to 33 (27.5 per cent) rear­ers. Though it is not un­sat­is­fac­tory, they have been pro­vid­ing loans only to the rich rear­ers. Poor rear­ers are be­trayed from bank loan on the ground of col­lat­eral. The role of Vil­lage Ma­ha­jan in the study area is quite high which is 30 (25 per cent). The most im­por­tant draw­back of this pri­vate source is that they charge very high rate of in­ter­est. Also, in few cases the rear­ers take loan from their own rel­a­tives. Only 18 (15 per cent) of the fish cul­tur­ists fam­i­lies take ad­vance from this source. It is also be­cause of al­most same de­plorable fi­nan­cial con­di­tion of their rel­a­tives. How­ever, the rear­ers like to bor­row from their rel­a­tives be­cause most of the times they need not pay in­ter­est to the lenders. Of course, some­times they pay a nom­i­nal in­ter­est (in the form of gift) when their busi­ness be­comes a suc­cess­ful one.


Government of As­sam and Government of In­dia have been ad­vanc­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to the fish rear­ers of As­sam for var­i­ous pur­poses un­der var­i­ous schemes. As­sam Agri­cul­ture Com­pet­i­tive­ness Pro­gramme (AACP), In­te­grated Fish Farm­ing (IFF), As­sam Vikas Yo­jona (AVY), Fish Farm­ers Devel­op­ment Agency (FFDA), Ras­triya Kr­ishi Vikash Yo­jona (RKVY), Tribal Sub Plan (TSP), District Devel­op­ment Plan (DDP), etc have been launched by government of As­sam for the devel­op­ment of Fish­ery sec­tor of As­sam. Fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance are given to fish rear­ers for devel­op­ment of ex­ist­ing tanks, con­struc­tion of new tanks, cre­ation of nurs­ery tank, cre­ation of rear­ing tank, In­dian ma­jor carp hatch­ery, con­ver­sion of low ly­ing area to com­mu­nity tank, pig cum fish farm­ing, devel­op­ment of pen cul­ture, or­na­men­tal fish breed­ing, boat for fish­er­man, devel­op­ment of beel and open water fish­eries, etc. Apart from that, fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance is also given for con­struc­tion of dwelling houses for fish­er­man. It is ob­served from ta­ble-3 that dur­ing 2001-02, government of As­sam ad­vanced Rs.870.38 lakh to 2217 fish rear­ers of As­sam (also shown in di­a­gram-1). Fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance given by As­sam government to the fish­ery sec­tor in­creased in terms of fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits and num­ber of ben­e­fi­cia­ries by many fold. The num­ber of ben­e­fi­cia­ries in­creased to 56856 in 2010-2011 with mi­nor ups and downs in the mid­dle of the years. Sim­i­larly, amount of fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits given to the rear­ers also jumped up to Rs.2729 lakh in 2009-10. How­ever, the aid given to the fish rear­ers is not suf­fi­cient in com­par­i­son to the to­tal num­ber of fish rear­ers of As­sam. Fi­nan­cial aid given to fish­ery sec­tor by government un­der dif­fer­ent schemes/ pro­grammes in the district of Bar­peta dur­ing 2003-04 to 2010-11 is pre­sented in ta­ble-4.

It is ob­served from ta­ble-4 that only 16 fish­er­men re­ceived fi­nan­cial aid amount­ing to Rs.9.80 lakh dur­ing 2003-04. The aid was given for con­struc­tion of houses to fish­er­men un­der Na­tional Wel­fare Fund for Fish­er­man and for the devel­op­ment of derelict water bod­ies. Num­ber of ben­e­fi­cia­ries in­creased to the high­est level 659 in the year 2008-09 with the largest water area 131.20 hectares and the high­est fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance of Rs. 147.907 lakh. It may be be­cause of in­clu­sion of Ras­triya Kr­ishi Vikash Yo­jona (RKVY) un­der which 140 fish rear­ers were ben­e­fit­ted in 2008-09. But in the im­me­di­ate next two years, num­ber of ben­e­fi­cia­ries de­creased to 423 in 2009-10 and to 172 in 2010-11.


In any mod­ern com­mer­cialised econ­omy, avail­abil­ity of cheap credit at ap­pro­pri­ate time helps any eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity to grow in a proper way. Although in­sti­tu­tional and non-in­sti­tu­tional sources are there in As­sam in ad­e­quate num­ber, their role is very much lim­ited in fi­nanc­ing fish cul­ture. Still now, we do not ob­serve any ma­jor step taken by the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to­wards the devel­op­ment of fish cul­ture in As­sam. Though non-in­sti­tu­tional sources are ob­served plenty in the district of Bar­peta, the fish cul­tur­ists are not will­ing to take credit from them as rate of in­ter­est charged is very high that re­duces their prof­itabil­ity sig­nif­i­cantly and makes it non­re­mu­ner­a­tive. There­fore, this age old sec­tor though still ex­ist­ing but not grow­ing at a de­sired rate. The fish cul­ture ac­tiv­ity is mainly con­strained by the lim­ited re­sources of the rear­ers them­selves.

Government has been pro­vid­ing grants in aid to the rear­ers. But, the grants are ei­ther in­suf­fi­cient or mis-utilised and in some cases even mis­ap­pro­pri­ated by the cor­rupt government of­fi­cials in the name of rear­ers. There­fore, the ac­tual rear­ers are not ben­e­fited at all. Proper pol­icy should be framed to iden­tify the ac­tual rear­ers and also to mon­i­tor the pro­grammes for the proper util­i­sa­tion of what­ever re­sources are avail­able, by the fish rear­ers that can make them more com­pet­i­tive.


Alikunhi, K.H. (1957), Fish Cul­ture in In­dia, In­dian Coun­cil of Agri­cul­ture Re­search (ICAR), New Delhi Barua, P.G. (2010), "Blue Rev­o­lu­tion", ar­ti­cle pub­lished in English daily news pa­per The As­sam Tri­bune on 11-10-2010. Chand, M. (1991), Fishes, Na­tional Book Trust, In­dia, New Delhi. Das, M. and Bayan, B. (2011), "Scope of Fish Cul­ture in As­sam-An Eco­nomic Anal­y­sis", Fi­nanc­ing Agri­cul­ture, Vol.43, No. 3, Pp.20-23. Goswami, B. (2009), "Involvement of Ru­ral Women in Coastal Fish­ery Sec­tor of West Ben­gal, In­dia", Jour­nal of In­land Fish­eries So­ci­ety of In­dia, Vol.41, No.2, Pp-44-47. Goyal, M and Saran, S.K. (2009), "Eco­nom­ics of Fish farm­ing-A Zone wise Study of Pun­jab", Jour­nal of In­land Fish­eries So­ci­ety of In­dia, Vol.41, No.2, Pp-38-43. Government of As­sam, Di­rec­torate of Eco­nom­ics and Statis­tics, Sta­tis­ti­cal Hand­book, var­i­ous is­sues. Government of As­sam, Di­rec­torate of Fish­ery, Of­fi­cial Sta­tis­ti­cal Report. Hapke, H.M. (2001) "Petty Traders, Gen­der, and Devel­op­ment in a South In­dian Fish­ery" Eco­nomic Ge­og­ra­phy, Vol. 77, No.3, Pp.225-249. Sharma, O.P. and Kha­juria, V. (2009), "Fish Con­sump­tion and their Con­sump­tion be­hav­iour in Udaipur (Ra­jasthan)", Jour­nal of In­land Fish­eries So­ci­ety of In­dia, Vol.41, No.2, Pp-11-17.

Source: Di­rec­torate of Fish­ery, Government of As­sam Note: The fund is un­der util­i­sa­tion

Source: District Fish­ery Devel­op­ment Of­fice, Bar­peta Note: The fund is un­der util­i­sa­tion

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