Pranab asks banks expand to rural areas, expedite credit flow

Chandigarh, July 6 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday asked banks and financial institutions to provide expeditious credit to various productive sections of the society to tap the country’s growth potential.

Addressing a conference of the chief ministers of northern states and union territories and chiefs of various public sector banks and financial institutions here, Mukherjee also asked the banks to increase their rural penetration and enhance their accessibility to the rural population.

This was the third such meeting in recent weeks. He had addressed similar meets earlier in Patna and Mumbai for chief ministers of eastern and western regions.

‘As you are aware, I am holding such meetings with chief ministers across the country on matters that relate to the efficiency with which our banking system interfaces with the common man, the small farmers, students and the micro entrepreneurs so as to ensure timely credit to the poor and the marginalized,’ he said.

‘As of today only 37.2 percent of bank branches are in rural areas and only 40 percents of the country’s population has bank accounts,’ he said, adding: ‘The financial inclusion is a priority, as it provides avenues to the poor to bring their savings in the common financial system.’

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