Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday asked banks to step up lending activities and open more branches in the Eastern and Northeastern regions.
"At today's meeting, we have discussed how to improve credit-deposit ratio. We have discussed how to open more bank branches so that people can get facilities of the banks," he told reporters after a five-hour long meeting of public sector banks heads along with the chief ministers of the Eastern and Northeastern states in Patna.
The credit-deposit ratio of banks in the Eastern region is 40 per cent against the national average of 72 per cent.
Besides, he said, the meeting also discussed state-wise Centrally-sponsored schemes which are implemented by the states with banks. These schemes include the Indira Awas Yojana, NREGA, etc.
"How the financial inclusion is possible and how quickly we can provide financial services to the people was also discussed," he said, adding such region-wise deliberation would continue in the future with next meeting happening in the Western region. Such practice was in vogue in the 1970s and 1980s and after that this practice was given up, he added.
"I thought when we are talking of financial inclusion, (it means) extending financial services to large number of people," he said. In the last budget speech Mukherjee had said that the government would take steps to provide appropriate banking facilities to habitations having population in excess of 2,000 by March 2012.