Odisha Govt plans 340 brick and mortar branches in unbanked Gram Panchayats

Bhubaneswar: Addressing a State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) meeting here on Tuesday, Finance Minister Shashi Bhusan Behera revealed that the state government will assist in opening 340 brick and mortar branches and 337 fixed-location business correspondent (BC) and ultra-small branches in unbanked gram panchayats in the next three years.

The State Potential Credit Plan for 2017-18 amounting Rs 66554.51 crore was prepared by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). It was decided in the meeting that the revised target of Rs 60000 crore as against Potential Linked Credit Plan (PLP) of Rs 66554.51 crore in view of low achievement in the year 2016-17 and on account of demonetization pressure on banking sector.

“The state government will provide all required support to banks like space in the gram panchayat headquarters and power connection for opening of brick and mortar branches or fixed point BCs,” Behera said.

The minister urged Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited to provide Internet connection to banks in order to provide banking facility to the people in remote areas.

The state has a total 4,253 unbanked gram panchayats.

On the occasion, Behera inaugurated a web portal to map the banking system in Odisha by the use of GPS. The portal designed by the Odisha Space Application Centre (ORSAC) will provide information on branch details, unbanked gram panchayats, distance from one bank to another in a particular area among others.

The minister also expressed concern over the declining trend of credit-deposit (CD) ratio in the state.

The comparative position of credit deposit ratio during 2015-16 and 2016-17 does not inspire confidence, he said adding, the CD ratio excluding advance sanctioned in other states and utilised in Odisha is 50.93 per cent against the benchmark of 60 per cent.

The CD ratio in Odisha has declined by about 6 per cent in 2016-17 and the credit investment to deposit ratio has deteriorated by around 5 per cent, he said.

Similarly, advance to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector has come down by 18 per cent in 2016-17 over the previous year, Behera said.

The state of education loans and advances to weaker sections has declined marginally and these are disturbing trends, he said while calling upon bankers to make all-out effort to achieve the credit target of Rs 60,000 crore set for 2017-18.

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