Increase agri credit flow, banking access to poor: Pranab

Mumbai, June 28 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday asked the central and western states and public sector banks to increase the agricultural credit flow, provide financial assistance to smaller industries and extend banking facilities in remote locations.

‘With regard to the credit deposit ratio, I find that except for Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat, all other States in Central and Western Region have a lower CD ratio than the benchmark of 60 percent’, Mukherjee told a meeting of chief ministers, finance ministers and heads of public sector banks.

The meeting was attended by chief ministers of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and finance ministers of Chhattisgarh and principal secretary, finance, of Gujarat and heads of Bank of Maharashtra, Dena Bank, State Bank of India, Central Bank of India and Bank of Baroda.

This was the second meeting the finance minister held as the government stepped up its efforts towards financial inclusion. Earlier this month, he had met the chief ministers of eastern and north-eastern states and the bank heads in Patna.

Mukherjee said the offtake of agricultural credit was not uniform in all the states of the two regions.

‘Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh have shown remarkable growth. However, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa need to accelerate their agricultural growth momentum,’ he said.

Mukherjee reiterated the government’s financial inclusion programme and said including people from all strata in the mainstream banking system would put the country firmly on the path of overall growth and development.

‘For long, the financial sector had ignored the needs of the poor, the marginalised, the small farmer, the micro entrepreneur and others like them who exist not very far and also within the city,’ he said.

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