Bihar CM Nitish Kumar
PATNA: Citing poor density of banks in Bihar, CM Nitish Kumar on Monday asked the banking sector to open at least one branch in each of the 8,386 gram panchayats. He also promised all necessary help to the banks in setting up new branches in rural areas.
Addressing the 72nd quarterly meeting of the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC), Nitish said while the country has one bank branch on a population of 11,000, the average in Bihar is on a population of 16,000.
He said the state government was ready to provide necessary space either in the ‘Panchayat Sarkar Bhavan’ or any other government buildings for setting up new branches.
He further asked the bank officials to open accounts of every person in the state. Nitish also rued the slow pace of approval and issuance of Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) to the farmers. He said the state agriculture department forwarded more than 3.70 lakh applications to different banks for the KCC. But the banks approved only 50,000 applications. “Approve the applications and increase the number of KCCs in the state,” he said.
Nitish also asked the bank officials to increase the credit limit of self-help groups (SHGs) under the Jeevika livelihood programme. He said the Jeevika’s SHGs were provided loans in the range of Rs1 to 5 lakh. It should be increased up to Rs10 lakh, the CM said, adding, “The woman members of Jeevika understand the jargons and functioning of the banking sector better than many educated people.”
He said around 9.5 lakh SHGs under the Jeevika have already been formed in the state and the government has a target of forming 10 lakh such self-help groups of rural women. He further asked the banks to increase their annual credit plan (ACP) keeping in mind the necessity of creating more employment opportunities in the state in the wake of returnee migrant workers.
He asked the bankers to help the state government in setting up micro and small-scale industries in identified sectors like dairy, poultry, handloom and agriculture so that more employment opportunities could be created.
Later, while briefing the media about the SLBC meeting, deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said Rs 14,300 crore of the Centre and state government was directly transferred in the bank accounts of poor people and beneficiaries of different schemes during the lockdown without intervention of any middleman.
He said the state has a total of 10.12 crore active bank accounts of which 7.76 crore are linked through Aadhaar number and 6.98 crore through mobile phones.
Modi said the bankers have been given a target to ensure that every person in the state should have his/her own bank account in the current financial year.