Mumbai, Dec 23 (ANI): President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Thursday said banks will have to play a pivotal role in India's growth story, and added that the first priority for lenders should be to strengthen themselves to support a vibrant and inclusive economy.
Speaking at the launch of the centenary celebrations of the Central Bank of India here, President Patil said the banking sector has enormous possibilities of expansion, considering that it is still to reach unbanked areas, and make banking services available to all individuals.
"Currently, just about 45 percent of the Indian population has access to banks accounts, and there is a low ratio of one bank branch for 16,000 people. Banking coverage of the large population living in six lakh villages in the country is particularly low. All these facts indicate the extent to which and the many areas where banks can make a difference," said President Patil.
"Initiatives like the Unique Identification Document project, will go a long way to ease the concern of banks pertaining to basic information about their customer and thus, giving a boost to banking inclusion," she added.
President Patil further praised the Central Bank of India's contributions in the development of India, while delivering her inaugural address at the function, and urged the bank to continue the remarkable work done by Founder Sir Sorabji Pchkhanwala and succeeding officers and staff of the bank
President Patil also emphasized the need for financial inclusions and urged the bank to work towards this goal with redoubled vigour.
President Patil released a commemorative postal stamp and a First day Cover on the occasion.
Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, who was also present at the function, did a virtual opening of 100 ATMs of the bank. (ANI)