At a time when Himachal Pradesh’s financial condition is going from bad to worse, the people in the hill state have at least one reason to cheer about. They have more money in bank deposits than the government spends on development.
The total deposits in various banks across the state are over Rs. 65,000 crore in Himachal Pradesh.
“The fact about the bank deposits came to the fore during the recent meeting of the bankers,” said Dr Shrikant Baldi, principal secretary, finance.
The government records suggest that average population per bank branch in the state comes to 4,019 against the national level of 11,000. The Punjab National Bank (PNB) has the largest number of 272 branches, State bank of India (SBI) and its associates have 319 branches and United Commercial Bank (UCB) has 151 branches. The Cooperative Bank has a network of 442 branches and the presence of private sector banks, having a network of 83 branches, is increasing rapidly.
Besides, a few urban cooperative and local area banks are also functioning in the state. Kangra district is having a maximum number of bank branches (339) whereas the lowest number of branches (41) is in tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti.
The total deposits of all banks operating in the state increased from Rs. 53,400 crore in September, 2012 to Rs. 63,459 crore in September, 2013 with the share of Commercial Bank at 71%, cooperative banks at 20% and private sector banks at 5%.
The total advances have also increased from Rs. 21,274 crore in September, 2012 to Rs. 26, 090 crore in September, 2013 witnessing a growth of 23%.
“At present, the total cash deposits in the banks across the state are well above `65,000 core. These deposits speak volumes about the financial vibrancy of the people in the hill state” Dr Baldi told Hindustan Times.
The people’s deposits in different banks were three times more than what the Himachal Pradesh government spends on development in the state.
“Deposits in the banks have increased more due to the increased salaries of the employees, particularly in the government sector. Himachal credit deposit ratio is 30 % below the national average which touches about 70%.The people in the state have habit of saving money for their future.
They hardly take any credits from the banks,” said state economical advisor Pradeep Chauhan.