Punjab Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said that to encourage the Cooperative Banks to compete with private banks, their government is going to revamp the Cooperative Banks by introducing new schemes including gold loan and insurance schemes. The minister said that new recruitment will be done to deal with shortages of staff and for starting net banking and other online banking services will also be introduced to include the Cooperative Banks in top banks of the state.Cooperation Minister Randhawa was here to inaugurate the workshop on ‘Micro Finance, New Buisness Opportunities for Cooperative Banks’ organised by Punjab State Cooperative Bank in association with NABARD.The minister said that there are as many as 802 branches of cooperative banks in the state and due to the lack of professional approach of cooperative banking sector, these banks are lagging behind private banks besides having reach in the remote areas. He added that to compete with private banks, the cooperative banks will have to change its working for the welfare of the rural people by introducing marketing strategies. He said that strict action will be taken against the culprits of corruption and indiscipline. He also directed the bank officials to act tough against major defaulters.S. Randhawa thanked NABARD for providing financial assistance of Rs. 750 crore to Punjab State Agriculture Development Bank and also appealed the NABARD to bound the state government to utilise these funds through cooperative banks which would strengthen them. He added that after getting approval from Reserve Bank of India, the District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) will be merged soon in Punjab State Cooperative Banks (PSCBs) which would add strength to these banks and new challenges as well.Earlier, Chief General Manager of NABARD Rajiv Siwach said that around 100 year old banking institution cooperative banks were dealing with the segment of small and marginal farmers which were neglected by all bankers.
He added that these farmers lend from cooperative banks for crops and fertilisers and NABARD will be always there to assist cooperative banks.Registrar Cooperative Societies Vikas Garg said that the bank has diversified its loans portfolio with micro finance thus enabling the bank to develop new customer base and earn good profit margins. Further, the bank has started earning more fee based income due to tie ups with insurance and stock holding corporations. He also pointed out that another new initiative is the tie up with Stock Holding Corporation of India Ltd for issuance of e-stamp papers through the branches of bank throughout Chandigarh and Punjab.The MD Punjab State Cooperative Bank Hargunjit Kaur said that the PSCB has been advancing loans to farmers in general for various purposes and retail loans also to urban customers since long. "Besides, bank was also providing micro finance loans to the poorest strata of the society in Punjab by advancing loans to Self Help Groups (SHGs) as per guidelines issued by NABARD which has always supported this model with its generous grants", said the MD adding presently Rs. 4000 is being given to MPCASS/MPCS/Ex-FLC Counselor by NABARD subject to availability of funds and other eligibility conditions in a phased manner as an incentive amount for the formation of Joint Liability Groups as per parameters fixed by NABARD. Recently, the bank has become corporate agent of reputed insurance companies for life insurance, general insurance and health insurance, added the MD.Meanwhile, the AMD (Banking) JS Sidhu said that in 2018-19 Bank had introduced a new loan scheme i.e. direct Loan to JLGs by DCCBs through MPCASS/MPCS as Business Correspondents. Under the scheme, the financing facility is provided to groups of 4 individuals who come together for the purpose of availing bank loan either singly or through the group mechanism against mutual guarantee. "Every member shall be allowed a loan upto Rs.50000/- on the basis of personal and collective liability of the group, thereby meaning that a group of four members shall get a maximum loan of Rs.2 lakh as per his/her needs and nothing except personal or collective guarantee of the group shall be taken", said the AMD adding till January 31, 2021 the DCCBs in Punjab have advanced approx 2600 JLGs to an amount of Rs.53.24 Crores.Prominent among others who were present on the occasion included MD PSADB Charandev Singh Mann, GM NABARD Partho Saha, Prof Satish Verma from CRID, AGM Pragati Jagga, Principal SS Brar, all MDs and District Managers of District Cooperative Banks of the state.