Banking services in unbanked GPs soon: CS

Bhubaneswar: In an effort to help the rural mass to get the benefits of developmental schemes, the Odisha government is contemplating covering the gram panchayats (GPs) where banking facilities are still a distant dream.

This was informed by chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi after a State level bankers’ meet here.

“We are concentrating on sectors like Agriculture, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Fisheries and Animal Husbandry so that credit flow to these areas could be improved. There is no banking facility in more than 75% GPs of Odisha and we aim to improve such facilities in the near future,” Padhi said.

“It could be either by opening new branches in such areas or by facilitating the service through other means. Our main aim is to ensure that they (rural mass) are not deprived of the benefits of developmental schemes,” he stated.

In first phase the State government will fund opening of 60 bank branches in Kandhamal, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and Nuapara districts, the chief secretary informed.

To ensure that banking operations reach all GPs in the state, the State government has assured banks coming forward to open branches in unbanked GPs that they will be provided space in panchayat buildings and Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendras free of cost for five years, official sources said.

With 4,597 of the 6,238 GPs in the state still without banking services, the State Government had set a target to cover 1,118 GPs in 2014-15.