Banking transforms lives in rural areas in northeast

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Agartala (Tripura)/ Jorhat (Assam), Sep.16 (ANI): Banking services are playing a major role in transforming the lives of people in rural areas of the northeast India.

To upgrade infrastructure and attract more investment, banks have undertaken several economic upliftment policies and schemes.

In Tripura, a financial outreach camp was recently organized at the State's Pitra village to raise awareness among villagers about banking and central banking services. It also intended to bring them under the fold of mainstream banking.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) took the initiative along with different functioning banks in the State. It came as a boon to thousands of villagers, especially farmers, who enthusiastically participated in the camp.

Villagers were familiarized with various banking facilities, security features of currency notes. They were given an opportunity to exchange their soiled and mutilated currency notes and exchange currency notes for coins.

The participants put up their queries about banking facilities in the area.

"Here we do not have any banking system. Because of the camp the villagers would be benefited. With bank accounts, people will get to know about savings and this will help them in the future," said Bubantala Jamatia, a Pitra villager.

"This outreach camp has helped poor villagers and we are now opening accounts without depositing any money," said Anishmia Sarkar, a villager. o improve the banking sector in northeast, the Reserve bank of India has set up a Committee on Financial Sector Development.

The committee has made several major recommendations, including financial inclusion, opening of bank branches and enhancement of credit flow to the region.

"As far as Reserve Bank of India is concerned, the approach is that we work together, the State government, the banks, the non-governmental organizations, the local Panchayati Raj institutions and the Reserve Bank will act like a catalyst to make people come together an work for economic development," said Usha Thorat, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India.

The United Bank of India (UBI) has drawn up a plan for economic upliftment of the seven northeastern States called 'Vision 2020 for northeast' aimed to cover rural people.

'Vision 2020 for northeast, the plan, was declared during a press conference by UBI held at Tocklai in Jorhat in Assam.

It would include introduction of low rate interest loans for the poor, unemployed youths, farmers, women, self-help groups, small scale industries and entrepreneurs among others.

The bank also handed over rupees 750 million loan to 8,673 Union Bank of India (UBI) account holders.The loans have benefited us a lot. The bank provided us loans based on the need of the customers. We are really satisfied," said C. Saikia, one of the customers.

At present there are 252 Union Bank of India branches in the northeast region of the country. The bank is setting up 15 branches in different parts of Assam. Two branches each will also be set up in Manipur and Nagaland. By Pinaki Das / Vaschipem Kamodang (ANI)

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