As the government prepares to roll out the direct cash transfer scheme, the public sector banks have been asked to focus on branch network expansion to bring all rural households under the banking net, without which the Centre’s efforts would yield limited results.
According to finance
ministry data, India has 24,66,92,667 households, of which 58.7% are covered under the banking net.
Over 40% of the households in states such as Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand still do not have a bank account. In the east and north east states like Manipur, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and Meghalaya, over 50% households are unbanked.
“The 51 districts that have been identified in the first phase for rolling out the scheme are fully covered and banks are ready; however, we are gearing up in other states too,” said TM Bhasin, chairman and MD, Indian Bank.
Under the direct transfer scheme, the subsidy amount would be directly deposited in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries to plug leakages. Besides, the Centre is also looking at a proposal to mandate all LPG connection-holders to have a bank account to claim the subsidy.
Meanwhile, banks have also been asked to feed in the Adhaar number of beneficiaries in their accounts for smooth implementation of the subsidy scheme.
“Banks have been asked to take up the project on urgent basis so that there is at least one bank account per family,” said a senior finance ministry official.
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