Surjit Singh Rakhra, Rural Development and Panchayats Minister, Punjab today gave a call to commercial, regional rural, cooperative and private banks of the state to focus on lending to farm sector and to below poverty line population and become catalyst of economic growth of state.Addressing 128th meeting of State Level Bankers Committee presided over by Executive Director of PNB Mr. Gauri Shankar, Mr. Rakhra said that it was matter of great concern that farmers of Punjab could not sustain the agriculture growth due to slow off take of farm credit. He said it was regrettable that credit deposit ratio last year declined by 4.32 percent from 85.49 percent in March 2013 to 81.17 percent in 2014 reflecting that credit disbursal of the bank could not keep pace with deposit collected from the state. He said that Punjab Government was focusing on Rural upliftment and banks would have to become equal partner in this progress.
Focusing on doorstep banking, Mr. Rakhra said that banks would have to constraint on technological innovation to provide banking at doorstep especially in the remote rural areas. He said that banks would have to focus o financial inclusion by ensuring 100 precent coverage within next three year. Mr. Rakhra offered total support of Punjab Government in expanding the Rural Self Employment Training institute in the state.While delivering his Key note address Mr. Gauri Shanker, Executive Director, Punjab National Bank & Chairman SLBC meeting apprised the house of important initiatives taken by RBI and Department of Financial Services, Minister of Finance, Govt. of India during the intervening period between last and present meetings of SLBC which impact the State economy in general and banking sector in particular.
Touching upon the initiatives on Financial Inclusion of Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, GOI, Mr. Shanker advised the banks to Open one account per house hold in the allocated wards in villages in urban and Sub Service areas in rural areas. He apprised that the banks in the state have provided banking services to 6150 unbanked villages with population less than 2000. The Government of India has provided the updated list of 120 districts with maximum Aadhaar saturation received for Planning Commission for expansion of DBT. In the State of Punjab, 14 Districts have been identified in addition to the 5 districts identified earlier for implementation of DBT. Shri Shanker requested all stakeholders especially the bankers to open accounts of beneficiaries, seeding of Aadhaar and strengthening of banking infrastructure in the districts covered under DBT.
While emphasizing for setting up of Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) in the state of Punjab, Mr. Shanker apprised the House with happiness that 19 RSETIs are operating in the State and that the land has been allotted in 18 districts and in remaining 4 districts, allotment of land is under consideration.
While reviewing the performance of banks under various key parameters in the State of PUNJAB for the period from April 2013 to March 2014, Mr. Gauri Shanker informed that banking system in the State has achieved all the National Goals. Commercial Banks and RRBs have opened 746 new Branches since April 2013, thus raising the total number of branches to 5356 as at 31.03.2014 from 4610 branches as at 31.03.2013. No Block of PUNJAB is unbanked. The Banks in Punjab have installed 763ATMs during quarter ending April 2013 taking their tally to 6754 as at 31.03.2014.
The total deposits in Punjab have increased by Rs. 30367 crore from Rs. 200578 crore to Rs. 230945 crore thereby showing an increase of 15.13% during the review period. Total Advances during the period from April 2013 to March 2014 have increased by Rs. 13884 crore i.e. from Rs. 171474 crore to Rs. 185358 crore registering a growth of 8.09 % during review period. He informed the house that the Banks in the State have achieved all the National Goals in respect of Priority Sector, Agriculture Credit (Direct as well indirect) and lending to the Weaker Sector for the period ended March 2014. Priority Sector Advances have increased from Rs. 82686 crore as at March 2013 to Rs. 98502 crore as at March 2014 showing a growth of 19.12%. Agriculture advances have increased from Rs. 40021crore as at March 2013 to Rs. 48520 crore as at March 2014 recording a growth of 21.23%. Advances to Micro & Small Enterprises have increased from Rs. 39 crore as at March 2013 to Rs. 41598 crore as at March 2014 showing a growth of 20.09%. Mr. Shanker informed that as per the recommendations of Prime Minister’s Task Force on Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) under Chairmanship of TKA Nair, the banks are required to achieve year on year 20% growth in credit to Micro & Small Enterprises & 10% Annual growth in number of Micro Enterprises accounts.
Gauri Shanker informed that Weaker Sector Advances in the State have increased from Rs. 30636 crore as at March 2013 to Rs. 35060 crore as at March 2014 thereby showing a growth of 14.44%. Overall advances to Minority Communities have registered an increase of Rs. 229.68 Crore from Rs. 451.15 Crore as at March 2013 to Rs. 680.83 Crore as at March 2014 witnessing a growth of 50.90%. Advances to women beneficiaries witnessed an increase of Rs. 2098.92 Crore from Rs. 9797.85 Crore as at March-2013 to Rs. 11896.77 Crore as at March 2014, thus showing growth of 6.41%.
Earlier, while welcoming the participants, Mr. Harpal Singh, Field General Manager, Punjab assured the State Government of pro-active support from the banking system to accelerate the economy of the State on a faster pace. Promienent among other who were present in the meeting included Mr. Gulab Singh, Deputy Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Governemnt of India, Mr. G. Ramesh Kumar, IAS, Director, IF&B, Government of Punjab, Mr. K.S.Sangha, IAS, MD, Punjab State Cooperative Bank, Shri Harpal Singh, Field General Manager & Convener SLBC Punjab, Mr. Anjani Misra, DGM, RBI, Chandigarh, Mr. Naresh Gupta, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Dr. Rakesh Gupta, General Manager, PNB.