THE PRESENT CHAPTER IS DIVIDED INTO TWO SECTIONS, viz., (1) Banking and Finance and (2) Trade and Commerce. The first section of this chapter describes the institutional frame-work, and the structural and historical aspects of the various agencies in the field of banking and finance such as money-lenders, co-operative societies, joint-stock banks, joint-stock companies and Life Insurance Corporation and other Government agencies extending financial assistance to agriculturists and industrialists in Ahmadnagar district.

Among the various financial agencies the money-lender is the oldest one. It has survived through centuries, and even today it holds a considerable influence over the rural and particularly agricultural masses in the district. The main reason for this is that the mode of his money-lending operations suits the needy but ignorant rural folk.

The section on co-operative societies gives the description of all types of co-operative institutions which provide credit and other facilities. The study of the co-operative movement shows commendable progress in the district. In fact a considerable proportion of the economic development in the district is attributable to the growth of the co-operative movement which made remarkable strides under the able guidance of a cadre of co-operators.

Nationalisation of life insurance business was an important event in the history of financial institutions which has expanded the life insurance business manifold in the district. The State also floats loans and raises funds required for financing its plans and other Government outlays. It further extends financial and other aid to industry and agriculture by advancing loans and subsidies. The active participation of the State in the economic activity has developed at a progressive rate since the dawn of Independence.

Besides purveying credit to the economy, the above institutions also mobilise the savings of the people in the form of premia, and invest them in the interest-yielding securities and productive channels. The Life Insurance Corporation of India and the joint-stock companies need in this context a specific mention. An account of all these institutions and Government agencies and their manifold activities has been discussed elaborately in the first part of the chapter.

The financial set-up in the district has significant bearings on the pattern of trade and commerce. With the attainment of Independence, the old set-up of the economic institutions underwent a remarkable change. The growth of banking and other financial institutions and the increasing credit facilities have accelerated the change in the pattern and volume of trade. Price policies adopted from time to time by the State also affect the market trend and determine ultimately the structure and direction of trade.

With the progressive legislation regarding regulation of agricultural marketing a new and dynamic institutional set-up in the form of market committees has come into existence. It has evolved a set of conditions under which the agriculturist feels assured about the profitable disposal of his produce. He is also protected from the ingenious malpractices which were so very characteristic of the market economy of the past. The establishment of fair price shops to check the rising trend of higher cost of living needs special mention. The growing participation of the State in the economic development of the district thus constitutes an important land-mark in the economic history of the district.

The second part of this chapter, viz., " Trade and Commerce " gives the historical background of trade as also the trade routes, and details about regulated markets, exports and imports and trade associations in the district.