Biggest challenge before nation is to ensure inclusive growth: Mukherjee

March 12th, 2011 - 6:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, Mar 12 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said the biggest challenge before the nation today is to ensure inclusive growth.

Speaking on the occasion of 106th foundation day celebrations of Corporation Bank, Mukherjee said: “Financial inclusion is an important priority of the Government as only 38 per cent of the 87,051 bank branches of scheduled commercial banks are in rural areas and only 40 per cent of the country’s population has bank accounts.

To address this need, Mukherjee said: ” I had in 2010-11 directed all banks to provide appropriate banking facilities to habitations having population in excess of 2000 by March, 2012 using various models and technologies including branchless banking through Business Correspondents (BCs).

He said banks, through the forum of State Level Banker Committees (SLBCs) have formulated their road maps for financial inclusion and have identified approximately 73,000 habitations having a population of over 2000 for providing banking facilities.

“These habitations have been allocated to Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Cooperatives Banks for providing banking facilities in a time bound manner,” he added.

Emphasising Indian economy has to grow at a double digit rate in which Indian banks will have to play a facilitator and pro-active role, Mukherjee said: “The demands of this rapidly growing economy too are going to be very aggressive.

He further said that the Government of India had, in 2004, announced a package for doubling the flow of credit to agriculture and allied activities in a period of three years commencing from 2004-05 over the amount disbursed during the year 2003-04.

He said since 2006-07, the Government of India is also providing Interest Subvention to all Public Sector Banks(PSBs), Regional Rural Banks(RRBs) and Cooperative Banks for short term crop loans upto Rs three lakh, so as to ensure that short term agriculture credit is available at seven per cent p.a. to farmers.

“In 2010-11, an additional two per cent interest subvention is being provided to those farmers, who repay their short term crop loans in time,” he added.

He said that he is happy to note that to include the financially excluded rural populace to the main stream banking, the corporation bank has launched the branchless banking project using the cost effective ICT technologies and engaging the services of Business correspondents. (ANI)

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