(Updated as on December 14, 2018)
1. What are the different categories under priority sector?
Priority Sector includes the following categories:
(ii) Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
(iii) Export Credit
(vi) Social Infrastructure
(vii) Renewable Energy
2. What are the Targets and Sub-targets for banks under priority sector?
The targets and sub-targets for banks under priority sector are as follows:
|Total Priority Sector
40 per cent of Adjusted Net Bank Credit or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher.
|40 per cent of Adjusted Net Bank Credit or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher, to be achieved in a phased manner by 2020.
||18 per cent of ANBC or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher.
Within the 18 percent target for agriculture, a target of 8 percent of ANBC or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher is prescribed for Small and Marginal Farmers.
||7.5 percent of ANBC or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher.
|Advances to Weaker Sections
||10 percent of ANBC or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher
|# Domestic banks have been directed to ensure that their overall direct lending to non-corporate farmers does not fall below the system-wide average of the last three years achievement.
3. What are the categories under ‘Agriculture’?
The activities covered under Agriculture are classified under three sub-categories viz. Farm credit, Agriculture infrastructure and Ancillary activities.
4. Whether limits are prescribed for loans sanctioned to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to be classified as priority sector?
For classification under priority sector, no limits are prescribed for bank loans sanctioned to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises engaged in the manufacture or production of goods under any industry specified in the first schedule to the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 and as notified by the Government from time to time. The manufacturing enterprises are defined in terms of investment in plant and machinery under MSMED Act 2006.
Bank loans to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises engaged in providing or rendering of services and defined in terms of investment in equipment under MSMED Act, 2006, irrespective of loan limits, are eligible for classification under priority sector, w.e.f. March 1, 2018.
5. What is the applicable limit and purpose for social infrastructure loans under priority sector?
Bank loans up to a limit of ₹ 50 million per borrower for building social infrastructure for activities namely schools, health care facilities, drinking water facilities and sanitation facilities (including loans for construction/ refurbishment of toilets and improvement in water facilities in the household) in Tier II to Tier VI centres are eligible for classification under priority sector.
Bank credit to Micro Finance Institutions (MFI) extended for on-lending to individuals/ members of SHGs/ JLGs for water and sanitation facilities is also eligible for classification as priority sector loans under ‘Social Infrastructure’ subject to certain criteria.
6. What is the applicable limit and purpose for loans for renewable energy under priority sector?
Bank loans up to a limit of ₹ 150 million
to borrowers for purposes like solar based power generators, biomass based power generators, wind mills, micro-hydel plants and for non-conventional energy based public utilities viz. street lighting systems, and remote village electrification are eligible to be classified under priority sector loans under ‘Renewable Energy’. For individual households, the loan limit is ₹ 1 million per borrower.
7. What is the loan limit for education under priority sector?
Loans to individuals for educational purposes including vocational courses upto ₹ 1 million irrespective of the sanctioned amount are eligible for classification under priority sector.
8. What is the limit for housing loans under priority sector?
Loans to individuals up to ₹3.5 million in metropolitan centres (with population of ten lakh and above) and loans up to ₹ 2.5 million in other centres for purchase/construction of a dwelling unit per family, are eligible to be considered as priority sector provided the overall cost of the dwelling unit in the metropolitan centre and at other centres does not exceed ₹ 4.5 million and ₹ 3 million, respectively. Housing loans to banks’ own employees are not eligible for classification under priority sector.
9. What is included under Weaker Sections under priority sector?
Priority sector loans to the following borrowers are eligible to be considered under Weaker Sections category:-
||Small and Marginal Farmers
||Artisans, village and cottage industries where individual credit limits do not exceed ₹ 0.1 million
||Beneficiaries under Government Sponsored Schemes such as National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) and Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS)
||Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
||Beneficiaries of Differential Rate of Interest (DRI) scheme
||Self Help Groups
||Distressed farmers indebted to non-institutional lenders
||Distressed persons other than farmers, with loan amount not exceeding ₹ 0.1 million per borrower to prepay their debt to non-institutional lenders
||Individual women beneficiaries up to ₹ 0.1 million per borrower
||Persons with disabilities
||Overdraft limit to PMJDY account holder upto ₹ 10,000/- with age limit of 18-65 years.
||Minority communities as may be notified by Government of India from time to time
In States, where one of the minority communities notified is, in fact, in majority, item (12) will cover only the other notified minorities. These States/ Union Territories are Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Lakshadweep.
10. Is bank credit to Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) treated as priority sector lending?
Bank credit to MFIs (NBFC-MFIs, societies, trusts, etc) extended for on-lending to individuals and also to members of SHGs/JLGs is eligible for categorisation as priority sector advance under respective categories viz., Agriculture, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Social Infrastructure and Others subject to the criteria laid down in para 19 of the Master Direction FIDD.CO.Plan.1/04.09.01/2016-17 dated July 7, 2016 (updated as on December 04, 2018) on Priority Sector Lending – Targets and Classification.
11. What are Priority Sector Lending Certificates (PSLCs)?
Priority Sector Lending Certificates (PSLCs) are a mechanism to enable banks to achieve the priority sector lending target and sub-targets by purchase of these instruments in the event of shortfall. This also incentivizes surplus banks as it allows them to sell their excess achievement over targets thereby enhancing lending to the categories under priority sector. Under the PSLC mechanism, the seller sells fulfilment of priority sector obligation and the buyer buys the obligation with no transfer of risk or loan assets.
12. What are the instructions to Banks with regard to acknowledgement of priority sector loan applications?
Banks should provide acknowledgement for loan applications received under priority sector loan. A time limit is required to be prescribed by the Bank Board within which the bank communicates its decision in writing to the applicants.
13. What is the rate of interest for loans under priority sector?
The rate of interest on bank loans will be as per directives issued by the Department of Banking Regulation of RBI, from time to time. Priority sector guidelines do not lay down any preferential rate of interest for priority sector loans.
14. Where are the latest instructions on Priority Sector Lending available?
The latest instructions on Priority Sector Lending – Targets and Classification have been issued vide RBI Master Direction FIDD.CO.Plan.1/04.09/01/2016-17 dated July 7, 2016 (updated as on December 04, 2018)
15. What is the effective date of removal of credit cap on MSME (Services) for classification under priority sector?
With regard to Para 3 of FIDD Circular dated March 1, 2018, it is clarified that the banks can reckon the entire outstanding portfolio to MSMEs, engaged in providing or rendering of services as defined in terms of equipment under MSME Act, 2006, under priority sector without any credit cap, from the date of the circular, i.e., March 1, 2018.