Agriculture is a significant sector of Bangladesh economy. It contributes 19% to the country’s gross domestic product. The confirmation of food safety for the large population of Bangladesh is directly related to the development of cultivation and its cultivators. This is why, Bangladesh Government pays importance to the agricultural development with a view to ensuring food safety and poverty reduction and employment creation. (In this context, Bangladesh Bank 2014-2015 Agriculture and Rural Loan Norms inspire, “Go and take lodge and responsibility to villages, develop them. Provide knowledge, boost up agriculture, introduce new technology to industry and rural equipments.”
When a country’s 85% people live in villages and their life and livelihood largely depend on agriculture, its economical development is impossible leaving the pastoral people in darkness. Among rural people some are farmers, some are labours, some are related to cottage industries, fisheries, farmhouse management and small industries. Considering the above issues as a public bank of the Government, RAKUB provides its services as the best medium of investment to agriculture in north and northwest parts of the country. Its main objective is to make rural people self-reliant by investing with a lower rate of interest to all the sectors and sub-sectors of agriculture i.e. cultivation, fishery, livestock, farm machinery, agri industry, SME and others. In a word it builds society by social services.
The bank also intends to uplift the condition of farmers by its ceaseless effort to lend investment for the expansion of agricultural production. In 1987, at the time of establishment, RAKUB had 253 branches, now 376, total amount of deposit were 51.83 crore, now 3046.85 crore, total loan and investment were 563.83 crore, now it amounts 4450.59 crore, total no. of depositors were 345286, now it reaches 862665, total no. of clients were 1064531, now it stands 4228349. Beside the bank also disburses credit to produce import substitute crops like pulses, oil seeds, maize etc at the rate of 4% per anum.
Apart from this, as per the proposal and decision of renowned economist and the Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Dr. Atiur Rahman, RAKUB opens and operates Farmer Account by Tk 10 with reverence. The bank has plays a vital role to expand agricultural productions, develop fisheries and livestock, purchase farm and irrigation equipment, manifest agri based industries and alleviate poverty.
On the other hand, receiving credits in proper time with the adaptation of modern system and technology an agricultural revolution has been brought by the farmers in the Northwest region of the country. Apart from this, rural women and unemployed people are playing a leading role in establishing self-reliant society by means of their small and medium entrepreneurship with the privileges of RAKUB non mortgage loan facilities.
In compliance with the declaration of the Honorable Prime Minister the bank aims to boost up Bangladesh to a middle income country by means of self- employment to all classes of people.
So far RAKUB’s effort to establish a poverty free modern rural society and self-reliant villages has been depicted which was first pioneered 100 years ago by the social reformist Rabindranath Tagore with his rural development and micro credit activities. The task was started in the solitary village Patisor of the North-west region of Bangladesh. His tireless effort to free farmers from the bondage of slavery and bring agricultural revolution by availing agri loan with simple terms and conditions with the establishment of Krishi Somobay Bank in 1905.
This bank was a rare instance in Indian subcontinent. At that time the credit program was so admired that it was unattainable for the bank to meet up the credit requirements due to its fund shortages. But the crisis was partly solved with the deposit of his Noble Prize money, though there is a controversy regarding the exact amount of the deposited money. 100 years later, RAKUB’s endeavours to introduce scientific modern technology for cultivation, loan to purchase modern equipments, farm management, cottage industry, loom industry and poverty reduction programmes which almost reflect Tagore’s rural development thoughts and plans.
It is to be said, all resemble the village development model of Kaligram. Further we can say that utilization of modern machineries in agriculture, capital expansion in banking sector, all are the goal of native social thoughts of Rabindranath Tagore. After the achievement of Noble Prize, the deposit of one lac and eight thousand Taka for poor and helpless farmers in Patishor Agricultural Cooperative Bank indicates that goal. The flexibility that state owned government banks adopt in loan recovery activities at natural calamities was the prime condition of establishment of Agricultural Bank and agricultural lending activities of Rabindranath Tagore.
Thus Tagore initiated a glittering example of lending money instead of recovering tax to a farmer whose crops are destroyed.
People have become destitute for the failure of crops in the successive years. Last year they were saved by lending money from my own fund and this year have to do the same (Polli Prokriti, page: 230). Now-a-days the government not only gives loans by making highest investment in agricultural sectors but also takes measures to ensure proper agricultural knowledge as Rabindranath did. He sent his son and son-in-law to study overseas and wrote them: You are studying abroad to learn agriculture with the money that could be used for food for poor people, after returning if you can increase minimum food production then my soul will get peace. Keep in mind that the king’s treasury constitutes with farmers’ money and these farmers have taken responsibility to bear your educational expenses by making their meals half even starving themselves. The responsibility to pay off their loan is left upon you. Your primary duty lies into it then your family development.(Chithi Potro, page:111).
The motto of Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank is similar to his thought. Deposit of the people is deposit of the government. It is possible to advance the country along with the nation by making the proper utilization of the deposit. Rabindranath expressd: Long time ago I hoped our kingship to become the kingship of our subjects. (Rabindranath Rachanaboli 20, page: 453).
Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank also thinks the same, i.e. it runs to be the bank of the mass people. Rabindranath tried to open new economical horizons, sometimes by trying to grow new crops out of traditional cultivation process. He not only thought of new cultivation but also practically evaluated the probability of the process.
For instance, at that time potatoes were not a regular crop in our country. But Rabindranath visualized of potato cultivation in the dry land of Patishor. In the same way, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank opens a new era of agriculture and agri-industries along with all other banking services to ensure a self-dependent rural environment and stand by the people of all classes and customs. Let us conlude with the hope that Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank by its dedicated services and commitment to the people would eradicate all the obscurity of the society and bring in a new age in the northwest region of the country.