More bank branches in minority areas: HM

Sivaganga (TN): Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said more branches of nationalised banks would be opened this year in areas where the minority population is significant so that they have access to banking service and various facilities under government schemes.

Declaring open the Bank of Maharastra`s branch and ATM at Rajagambeeram in this district, he said in 2011 alone 1,023 bank branches were opened in 121 districts where the minority population is significant.

Chidambaram said the UPA government was responsible for ensuring that banking services reached the common man. "Now we want to spread the message that like freedom of speech and freedom to write, banking service was also a right which people should seek," he said.

He said Rs 13 lakh crore was in circulation in the country and it is too much of money which should be deposited in banks so that it is invested and used in the development of sectors like industries education.

Chidambaram, who represents Sivaganga in Lok Sabha, said during his current tenure, in the last 39 months, banks had opened 72 branches in his constituency and wondered whether any other MP would have such an achievement.

He said Bank of Maharashtra had a business turnover of Rs 1,39,508 crore and 1,624 branches. The bank had opened its branch here heeding to the long pending request of the people.

Bank of Maharashtra Chairman and Managing Director Rajendra Singh said the bank planned to provide toilet facilities and fans in all government schools in the towns where it had branches as part of corporate social responsibility programme.