Mumbai, Sep.16 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here on Thursday that the country is likely to witness an economic growth rate of nine percent in 2011-12, while it would remain 8.5 percent in the current fiscal(2010-11).
"Indian economy is back on the path of growth. The latest figure released by CSO (Central Statistics Office) and the latest industrial production figures released clearly demonstrate that it would not be difficult to achieve nine percent growth as being projected in my Budget from the year 2011-12, and surely this year, our growth would be not less than 8.5 percent," said Mukherjee while delivering an address during an event.
Addressing a gathering of bankers and other dignitaries on the occasion of concluding ceremony of Platinum Jubilee year of Bank of Maharashtra, Mukherjee said that we would be able to achieve the growth of 9 per cent for the year 2011-12 as projected by him in his last Budget speech.
"For the current year," Mukherjee said, "we have not revised our projections of achieving the growth rate of 8.5 per cent despite achieving the growth of 8.8 per cent in the first quarter of the current financial year."
Stating that the Indian economy was back on growth track, Mukherjee said, "but unless such growth is inclusive, we cannot proceed very far on the road to prosperity."
He said unfortunately, only 37.2% of the total bank branches of Scheduled Commercial Banks were in rural areas and only approximately 40% of the country's population had bank accounts.
"Even in areas that are well covered by banks, there are sections of urban society excluded from the banking system," he said.
The Finance Minister also said, "In the whole gamut of this "inclusive growth" process, financial inclusion constitutes an important corner stone to reach out to "excluded" section of the society, the aam admi, particularly the poor people, the people in unorganised sector, in rural areas, which are not catered to by formal financial institutions, especially banks and FIs and this requires a high level of penetration."
Mukherjee, in his address, said that the banks have been asked to reach to the non banking people especially those in rural areas to achieve the target of providing financial and banking services to all the habitations of population of more than 2000 and above by the year 2012.
He said that the Government has empowered the people by giving them right to information, right to job and right to education backed by legal enactments.
Also present on this occasion were Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, Minister of State for Finance, Namo Narain Meena, Minister of State for Communication and IT, Sachin Pilot, Secretary in the Department of Financial Services, R. Gopalan, Chief Post Master General of India and Ms. Rameshwari Handa among others.
The Finance Minister also inaugurated the 1500th branch of Bank of Maharashtra at Gangtok (Sikkim) by pressing a button.
Minister of State for Finance, Namo Narain Meena inaugurated the 75th branch within the current year i.e., 75th year at Jharana, Rajasthan also by pressing a button.
Ashok Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra released a commemorative booklet of Bank of Maharashtra on this occasion while Sachin Pilot, Minister of State for Communication and IT released a special postal cover on Bank of Maharashtra. (ANI)