Govt working to improve financial inclusion: Pranab

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 12, 2011 Published on February 10, 2011

Ms Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, UPA, with the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, at the launch of ‘Swabhimaan’, a campaign for financial inclusion, in the Capital on Thursday. — Ramesh Sharma   -  Business Line

The Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, on Thursday said banking services would be rolled out in 20,000 unbanked villages with a population of over 2,000 by the end of this fiscal as part of the Government's overall efforts to improve financial inclusion in the country.

He, however, cautioned the banks against selecting the wrong individuals or entities as their business correspondents (BCs) — persons who act as intermediaries between the rural people and the banks.

“For the year 2010-11, we have set a target to roll out banking services in 20,000 villages. I am confident that this target will be achieved,” Mr Mukherjee said at the launch of ‘Swabhimaan', a special campaign for financial inclusion to bring banking to the masses.

Mr Mukherjee noted that the BCs are the face of the banks and that they (banks) should be conscious of the reputational risks that could arise if the wrong kind of BCs, or those who provide technology as backup, are selected. BCs are persons who help the rural people open bank accounts and also facilitate their banking transactions.

The Finance Minister said the Government has targeted to cover at least 73,000 new habitations with a population of 2,000 and above, and open at least 5 crore new accounts by March 2012 under the Swabhimaan campaign.

He also highlighted that the phenomenal growth in bank credit to the agricultural sector has propelled growth in this sector and pointed out that the CSO has estimated agricultural growth at 5.4 per cent in the current fiscal, compared with 0.4 per cent growth in the previous fiscal.

Mr Mukherjee, however, noted that about 73 per cent of farmer households had no access to formal sources of credit.


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Published on February 10, 2011
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