Pranab Mukherjee glad at 8.5 percent growth in current fiscal

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New Delhi, July 19 (ANI): Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday expressed his delight with 8.5 percent growth witnessed in the current fiscal year, as opposed to the 9.4 percent projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

At the "Financial Inclusion Summit" organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi today, Mukherjee said: "I was inclined to accept the IMF assets for the growth for the year 2010-11, when they projected that it may be around 9.4 per cent or 9.5 percent."

"But I am being a conservative in my assessment and with 8.5 percent plus growth because always there are uncertainties in the international economy today," he added.

Mukherjee asked the bankers to develop a viable, credible and replicable business model for financial inclusion of rural and urban poor in national banking system, asserting that process of financial inclusion needs to be undertaken in a mission mode in a time bound manner.

"Financial inclusion is a key determinant of sustainable and inclusive growth. It can unlock the vast potentials of savings, consumption and investment propensity of the poorer sections of our society," said Mukherjee.

"It provides credit to meet the contingent expenses and undertake income-generating activities. For that it is necessary to connect the banked and the un-banked sectors, and enable the un-banked sectors to become vibrant and productive participants in the economy growth process," he added.

The Finance Minister further said that financial inclusion is a key determinant of sustainable and inclusive growth.

"We have more than 87000 bank braches in the country but they are not sufficient enough to cater to all sections of society in all areas as we have more than 6,00,000 villages and only six percent of villages have bank branches," said Mukherjee.

"Only 40 percent people in the country have saving bank accounts. Therefore, there is urgent need to make the financial services available to unbanked areas through new technologies and IT," he added.

Mukherjee expressed his confidence in the Indian banking system to deliver on the plan for financial inclusion, and said that the system demonstrated its resilience in the face of the recent global financial crisis. (ANI)

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