Pranab Mukherjee promises more rural banks

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said banking services would be rolled out in 20,000 villages which have no banks with a population of over 2,000 by the end of this fiscal as part of the Government's overall efforts to improve financial services in the country.

Addressing at the launch of a financial inclusion campaign 'Swabhiman' here, Mukherjee said: "For the year 2010-11, we have set a target to roll out banking services in 20,000 villages. I am confident that this target will be achieved."

He said the Government has targeted to cover at least 73,000 new habitations with a population of 2,000 and above, and open at least five crore new accounts by March 2012.

Mukherjee further said that a target has been given to all the banks to prove appropriate banking facilities to the people.

"Though strides have been made in expansion of bank branches from around 8700 at the time of nationalisation in 1969 to present numbers of 85300 rural areas have only 32000 branches. To address a short form, I had given a target in 2010 to 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 the business correspondents," he added.

He also highlighted that the phenomenal growth in bank credit to the agricultural sector has propelled growth in this sector and pointed out that the CSO has estimated agricultural growth at 5.4 per cent in the current fiscal, compared with 0.4 per cent growth in the previous fiscal.

Mukherjee, however, noted that about 73 per cent of farmer households had no access to formal sources of credit. (ANI)

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