Finance Minister Pradeep Kumar Amat urged commercial banks operating in the State to extend their outreach to unbanked gram panchayats and enhance credit flow to agriculture and allied sector.
Addressing the 146th State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) meeting here today, Amat emphasized that linkages from deposit to credit and from credit to economic activity is very crucial for financial inclusion. He expressed the concern that as per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data the credit deposit ratio of the commercial banks in Odisha was around 42 pc against all India ratio of 73 pc at end of the year 2014-15. “The banks need to plug this gap and step up their medium term credit advance”, he said, adding during current financial year by end of third quarter the banks have achieved around 47 pc of NABARD credit potential. The minister asked the banks to rise to the occasion and achieve the credit potential target fixed by NABARD to the tune of Rs 66,555 crore during the year 2017-18.
Speaking on the occasion, chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said that SLBC had decided to extend banking services to 4,383 unbanked gram panchayats within a specified time period. He added that bank wise target and timeline was also worked out. “But actual performance of the banks showed that in the FY 2014-15 new branches were opened in 125 GPs. In the year FY 2015-16 new branches were opened in 69 gram panchayats and in the FY 2015-16 branches were opened only in 20 gram panchayats”, he said.
Padhi categorically mentioned that banks need to implement the decisions of SLBC with care and accountability. The chief secretary further pointed out that around 78 largely populated villages with population of more than 5,000 each were identified for opening of new branches as branches there would be more viable. But as of now only two such villages have new branches. Padhi emphasized that this need to be prioritized and achieved. He further advised that the internet providers and the mobile companies should be invited to the SLBC for expansion of data connectivity services to unnerved areas.
Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan said that banks are instruments of financial inclusion of the nation. He emphasized on timely compliance of the decisions taken in SLBC and field level convergence between banks and State functionaries. Principal Secretary Finance Tuhin Kanta Pandey said that expansion of banking services in left wing extremism areas is a priority for both the Central and State government. “During last couple of years the Maoist activities in Odisha have been curtailed to a great extent. Banks can run in many areas without much trouble”, he said.
The committee also discussed issues relating to Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, performance of commercial banks under social security schemes, implementation of MUDRA yojana, incentivizing of digital payment, interest subvention scheme for short term crop loan, credit advance to MS&ME, crop insurance, operation of ATMs in the State, enhancing CD ratio, achievement of annual credit plan, scheme wise non-performing asset (NPA) doubling of farmers income by the year 2022, short and long term credit to fish farms and handicraft units, technology transfer for development of horticulture, etc.