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One of the biggest challenges before our nation today is to ensure inclusive growth- Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that one of the biggest challenges before our nation today is to ensure inclusive growth. The Finance Minister said that financial Inclusion is an important priority of the Government as only 38% (32,919) of the 87,051 bank branches of Scheduled Commercial Banks are in rural areas and only 40% (approx.) of the country’s population has bank accounts. The Finance Minister was speaking on the occasion of 106th Foundation Day Celebrations of Corporation Bank.

Shri Pranab Mukherjee said while there are about 600,000 villages in India as per the 2001 Census but there are only 32,919 rural bank branches in the country. The Finance Minister said to address this need, he 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 latest technologies including branchless banking through Business Correspondents (BCs).

Shri Mukherjee said that the 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. He said that these habitations have been allocated to Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Cooperatives Banks for providing banking facilities in a time bound manner.

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The Union Finance Minister said that this would provide new bank accounts to around 5 crore rural households. He said that this Financial Inclusion Campaign named “Swabhimaan” aims at providing branchless banking through the use of technology. Shri Mukherjee said that Banks will provide basic services like deposits, withdrawals and remittances using the services of Business Correspondents also known as Bank Saathi. The Finance Minister said that this initiative also enables Government subsidies and social security benefits to now be directly credited to the accounts of the beneficiaries and who would be able to draw the money through the Business Correspondents in their village itself.

The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said Indian economy has to grow at a double digit rate in which Indian banks will have to play a facilitator and pro-active role. He said that the turf is going to be highly competitive. He said that the demands of this rapidly growing economy too are going to be very aggressive. Shri Mukherjee said one such critical area for lending remains the agricultural arena. He said that it is heartening to note that the banks have extended the increased credit to this important sector over the years.

Banknet Group has produced a CSR (social awareness) short film to encourage people from villages to open accounts with banks & to promote financial inclusion. Theme of film is “Har Ghar Mein Ho Khata (Every household needs to have a bank account). We aim to assist the industry in their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives by coming up with relevant TVCs, short films, theatre shows & events.... Read more


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