'Two lakh villages to be brought under banking umbrella'

RBI outreach programme will be introduced in 200 villages

'Two lakh villages to be brought under banking umbrella'

RBI Executive Director G Gopalakrishna inaugurating the stalls at the Outreach Programme organised as part of the Platinum Jubilee of RBI at Pavoor near here on Saturday. DH photo

Speaking to reporters at an outreach programme organised as part of the platinum jubilee of RBI at Pavoor village in Vorkady gram panchayat here on Saturday, Gopalakrishna said that the outreach programme will be introduced in 200 villages, where there is no banking facility, across the nation by the end of April, 2010. RBI will monitor the progress for one year and make them model villages for the programme. 
Banking sector in India will be made more sophisticated by applying ICT (Information, Communication and Technology), Gopalakrishna said adding that the distribution of Unique Identity (UID) by the Central government will help banks to provide savings accounts to all citizens, he said.

Business correspondents

Gopalakrishna said that RBI has given nod for banks in the nation to appoint business correspondents in villages. Those business correspondents can operate within 30 meter radius of a particular branch. Savings accounts, deposits, small loan applications, repayment of loans and other services will be taken to the doorsteps of villagers through business correspondents, he explained adding that individuals as well as NGOs and establishments can become business correspondents of banks in villages on commission basis.

He said that RBI has liberalised several rules to make banking sector strong. Banks need not apply for license to open branches in villages. Similarly, banks also can open ATMs outside its jurisdiction without application, he said and added that customers can swipe the cards to withdraw money from Points of Sale (PoS) too, in addition to shopping.
RBI Regional Director S Ramaswamy said that villages will be made financially included through outreach programmes. Awareness will also be created among rural people on counterfeit currencies, Ombudsman scheme, customer redressal forum and other issues related to banking, he added.

Kasaragod district Collector Anand Singh said that the banks should adopt proactive approach to improve a region. The credit needs of villagers can be met only if bankers adopt a proactive approach, he added.

Manjeshwar MLA C H Kunhambu said that the banks should liberalise rules to make loans available to poor and needy. People at the grass-root level too are important in the process of nation’s development. Banks have equal responsibility of reducing the gap between poor and rich. Instead of waiving off the loans of monopolistic capitalists, banks should lend helping hand to poor, he added.

RBI Assistant General Manager P Gopinathan Nair, North Malabar Gramin Bank Chairman Rama Prakash, Vorkady gram panchayat president P B Aboobacker and Manjeshwar gram panchayat president V A Khader were present.

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