Pranab ask states, banks to extend banking access to all

Mumbai, June 28 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherji Monday asked the central and western states and public sector banks to extend mainstream banking facilities to the poor, small farmers and micro-entrepreneurs.

Addressing a meeting of chief ministers, representatives of the public sector banks, the Reserve Bank of India and NABARD, Mukherji said for long the financial sector had ignored the needs of the poor, the marginalised, small farmers and micro-entrepreneurs.

‘I would urge the state governments and bankers to position themselves to finance the emerging demand for credit from all (such) sectors in this region, whether from agriculture, manufacturing or services sector,’ Mukherji said.

In the areas of micro and small enterprises credit, he said while Rajasthan and Gujarat had shown more than 50 percent growth in credit flow, Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu had fared much lower.

Similarly, on the Credit Deposit Ratio, except Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat, all other states in the central and western region have a lower ratio than the benchmark of 60 percent.

‘I request the chief ministers to use the forum of State Level Bankers’ Committee meetings to actively co-ordinate and ensure that the CD ratio in their states is improved,’ said Mukherji.

He also asked the Bank of Maharashtra, Dena Bank, State Bank of India, Central Bank of India and Bank of Baroda to ensure that financial inclusion is integrated with the technological development of banking infrastructure in rural and semi-urban areas.

‘I advise the bank to convert savings from semi-urban and rural market into financial assets through effective financial inclusion which will strengthen financial deepening,’ Mukherji said.

On agriculture credit flows for which a target has been fixed at Rs.3,75,000 crore, Mukherji said all the states in the region have increased agriculture credit flow by over 25 percent during the last year, which was very encouraging.

While Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh have shown remarkable growth in credit to agriculture, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa need to accelerate their agriculture growth momentum.

Touching upon the progress of centrally sponsored schemes in the states, Mukherji said that all states, barring Goa, have signed a memoraudum of understanding with the Centre to implement reforms in the short term credit co-operatives sectors (STCCS).

Expecting full implementation of the STCCS Package, Mukherji asked the Goa government to sign the MoU with the Centre and NABARD so that recapitalization assistance can be released.

Present at the meeting were Minister of State for Finance N.N. Meena, Maharasthra Chief Minister (CM) Ashok Chavan, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chauhan, Goa CM Digambar Kamat, Chattisgarh Agriculture Minister Chandrashekhar Sahu and Gujarat Finance Minister Saurabhbhai Patel.

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