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Critically evaluate the role of the rural banking system in the process of rural development in India.

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With the nationalization of the commercial banks after 1969, the concept of social banking came into existence. It implies extending institutional credit at moderate rate of interest. The National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) has made a significant progress in the field of rural credit. It cannot be denied that the institutional credit has freed the farmers from the trap of money lenders and mahajans. But, on the other hand, institutional credit is not free from deficiencies. The rural or institutional credit has invariably been associated with security or collateral. Consequently, a substantial number of farmers cannot avail credit. Also, the commercial banks failed to encourage the habit of thrift among farmers. In addition to this, the leniency on the part of the government to collect taxes was another setback in the rural banking. This further led to the emergence of the feeling among the farmers of not repaying the borrowed amount. This increased the defaulter's rate and led to financial unfeasibility for the rural banks.

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