Public sector banks will have to cover as many as 73,000 unbanked villages by 2012, of which 20,000 are slated to be covered in the next one month. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the banks have been directed to open no frill accounts to increase banking penetration.
In his last budget speech, Mukherjee had asked banks to provide banking facilities to habitations having a population of 2000 by March 2012. The Reserve Bank of India is also monitoring the programme.
The government will grant Rs 50 crore to state owned banks in the next fiscal, 2011-12, to support this exercise.
Banks have added about 75 million to one crore fresh accounts, with zero balance in the current financial year, to enable payment of wages to beneficiaries of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).