Bhubaneswar, Sep 16 (PTI) The Odisha government on Thursday urged the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to increase its loan assistance to Rs 10,000 crore for different schemes in the state.

Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra underscored that there was a need for higher investment in rural roads, irrigation, agricultural development, social infrastructure, creation of new livelihood opportunities and others in the post-Covid scenario.

Mohapatra made the remarks during an interactive session between the state government and NABARD at the Lok Seva Bhawan in Bhubaneswar.

He urged NABARD to enhance its loan assistance to Rs 10,000 crore under schemes like the rural infrastructure development fund (RIDF), rural infrastructure assistance to states (RIAS), long-term irrigation fund (LITF), agricultural marketing infrastructure and others.

The chief secretary said the state was prepared to implement projects of worth Rs 5,000 crore under the RIDF, Rs, 4,500 crore under the RIAS and Rs 500 crore under the LITF.

Development Commissioner Pradeep Jena said more investment was needed for building disaster-resilient infrastructure in the state because its unique geo-physical location makes it prone to frequent disasters.

Principal Secretary Finance Department Vishal Dev highlighted the need for more NABARD assistance in financial inclusion.

Dev emphasised the need for covering all unbanked gram panchayats either through brick and mortar branches or banking correspondent agents -- retail agents engaged by banks for providing banking services at locations other than a branch or an ATM.

Officials of various departments laid out the possible areas and projects in which NABARD and the state could operate together in a more effective manner.

NABARD chairperson G R Chintala said the bank would "do the best in enhancing its involvement with the state".

Chintala added that the state "has a strongly-motivated administrative machinery and robust mechanism for project implementation".

"Odisha is a leading state in cent per cent utilisation of the RIDF funds, according to Chintala.