Chidambaram asks banks to give artisans cheap loans

May 2nd, 2008 - 10:06 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

Bangalore, May 2 (IANS) Finance minister P. Chidambaram Friday suggested that the public sector banks should offer loans of Rs.5,000 at four percent interest rate to people engaged in small businesses. “When you can write off Rs.120 billion ($3 billion) owed by the steel industry, can’t you extend a small loan of Rs.5,000 at four percent interest to cobblers, barbers, gold smiths, fishermen, shepherds and potters?” he asked the banks while addressing a function organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry here.

“These are the ones who sustain the rural economy,” he said. These people traditionally work from the same place for years and the apprehension that they may slip away without repaying the loan was misplaced, he added.

The country’s economy was growing rapidly in the last four years but it would have little meaning if it did not lead to inclusive growth, Chidambaram said.

“Growth will be irrelevant if it excludes the poor. Inclusive growth is vital for the country. We will ensure that the poor is included in every scheme of things in the Indian economy,” he said.

Without directly referring to the upcoming Karnataka assembly polls, he said people should elect those who have fulfilled their promises.

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