Pranab Mukherjee details steps taken to promote inclusive growth

New Delhi, Oct 26 (ANI): Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said that the objective of the Government is to make development more inclusive by strengthening food security, improving education opportunities and health facilities in rural and urban areas.

Addressing the annual Economic Editors Conference here today, Pranab Mukherjee said 'Swabhiman' and Swavalamban are the two programmes launched by the Government to make development more inclusive in the rural and urban areas.

Pranab Mukherjee said 'Financial Inclusion' is an important priority of the Government as only about 38 percent of the 85292 bank branches of scheduled commercial banks are in rural areas and only 40 percent of the country's population has bank accounts.

"To address this need, the Government has directed all banks to provide appropriate banking facilities to habitations having population in excess of 2000 by March, 2012 using various models and technologies including branchless banking through Business Correspondents," said Mukherjee.

"The banks have formulated their road maps for Financial Inclusion and have identified about 73,000 habitations having a population of over 2000 for providing banking facilities," he added.

Pranab Mukherjee further said 'Swabhiman' - a nationwide programme on financial inclusion, estimated to cover approximately five crore households, is now ready for roll out.

"Swavalamban - a co-contributory pension scheme for workers in unorganized sector, has been launched on September 26. The Central Government shall contribute a sum of Rs.1, 000 per annum to the workers in unorganized sectors who contribute a sum of Rs.1, 000 to Rs.12, 000 per year in their pension accounts during the financial year 2010-11, are not in regular employment of the Central or the State Government or any of their entities, or not covered by any of the Social Security Scheme," said Mukherjee.

"Government has targeted ten lakh workers from un-organized sectors each during the initial four years of the implementation of Swavalamban Scheme totalling to 40 lakh subscribers by March 2014," he added.

Pranab Mukherjee said the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) would also be undertaking extensive financial literacy and awareness campaigns in association with the aggregators for that purpose.

"In the financial year 2009-10, the Government had announced the ground level credit target for agriculture at Rs 3,25,000 crore. The total credit flow to agriculture during 2009-10 was of the order of Rs. 3,66,919 crore, which is 113 percent of the annual target," said Mukherjee.

"For the financial year 2010-11, the Government has set agriculture credit flow target at Rs 3,75,000 crore," he added.

Pranab Mukherjee further said the economy will grow by 8.25-8.75 percent in the current fiscal and will return to an average growth rate of nine percent soon, but food prices continue to drive inflation.

Mukherjee said that economic growth would exceed nine percent in the near future stating that the gross tax revenue has grown at a robust pace so far in the current fiscal and proceeds from spectrum sale, as also disinvestment would help fill the financial deficit.

"The auction of 3G and broadband spectrum and disinvestment proceed would help meet the fiscal deficit target. The gross tax revenue grew by 27.3 percent so far this fiscal as opposed to negative growth rate in the same period last fiscal," said Mukherjee.

Pranab Mukherjee said the food prices were the main factors responsible for inflation. He expressed concerns on rising rupee having implications on the country's exports.

"Strong domestic demand and robust investment climate had led to surge in capital inflow," he claimed. (ANI)

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