Jammu, May 1: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday sought Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) support for youth empowerment in the state, while urging premier banking institutions to reach out to young, budding entrepreneurs and help them establish viable business units.
She said she expects the RBI to do more in exerting pressure on banking firms operating in the state so that small and medium enterprises have hassle-free access to loans.
"We seek better cooperation of banks in creating ample opportunities of employment for youth in the state," she said at luncheon meeting today with RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, during which several issues relating to banking operations in the state were discussed.
Mufti said banks need to focus on priority sector lending in the state, particularly targeting tourism, handicraft, handloom, agriculture and allied segments, which have a huge potential to generate avenues of employment for youth.
Rajan discussed with her a 12-point plan aimed at putting together a stronger financing structure in the state which goes beyond conventional banking. He said the first priority will be to create linkages of finance by overcoming physical barriers which will help in integrating the state with the rest of the country and empowering young local entrepreneurs.
"We are taking measurable short-term initiatives. I think J&K is in a better position in making the state easy for financing, which can be a model for the rest of the country to emulate," he added.
Mufti also requested Rajan to expedite working out modalities for establishing banking facilities for cross-LoC trade, saying the switch from barter to banking at two trading points of Salamabad and Chakan da Bagh will expand the scope and ambit of cross-LoC commerce.
She also particularly sought support in promoting business link-ups between large business houses and local entrepreneurs. Rajan stressed on branding of handicraft products by popularising logos and bringing tour operators, hoteliers and other stakeholders under one platform to aggressively promote the state as a niche high-end tourist destination.
Mufti also requested institutional finance be faciliated for setting up model villages for basmati, apple, mint and milk. To this, Rajan said once government firms up Self Help Groups and milk cooperatives, the banks will be more keen to finance liberally.
Asking banks to take a cue from HDFC's expansion in remote and far-flung locations, she sought the governor's intervention in improving the visibility of nationalised banks in un-banked areas.
The regional director informed the meeting that as per revised RBI guidelines, every village having population in excess of 5,000 will have a bank branch.
To provide a window of opportunity for jobs for local youngsters in the banking sector, the chief minister stressed upon wider publicity to vacancies and holding of coaching classes so that more and more aspirants compete for recruitment in the banking sector.