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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

State bankers to increase outreach of banking services in state

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Shimla, August 02, 2014
First Published: 19:31 IST(2/8/2014) | Last Updated: 19:41 IST(2/8/2014)

The State Level Bankers' Committee (SLBC) has identified 878 villages and decided to take help of Lok Mitra Kendra and other individuals as banking correspondents to increase the outreach of banking services in the state.

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The SLBC took the decision in a meeting on Sampooran Vittiyea Samaveshan (SVS) here on Friday.

Shrikant Baldi, state principal secretary (finance), said the committee had identified 878 villages for providing banking services through banking correspondents in the state in the first phase up to August 2015. He said banks would open ultra-small branches across the state.

Baldi said banks should open more branches in rural areas so that every corner could be covered under the comprehensive financial inclusion. “Himachal Pradesh was well placed in financial inclusion, but several areas were still not covered due to geographical constraints,” he said.

He accentuated upon opening more branches in rural areas and look for business correspondents such as Lok Mitra Kendras or Gramin Rozgar Sewaks to reach every household. “Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act <http://nrega.nic.in/> (MNREGA) has increased financial inclusion in rural areas in the state as all payments were made through banks,” Baldi said.

In order to cover cent per cent target under SVS and to make it viable, the demand for banking transactions should be created both in rural and urban areas, he said.

He said banks should explore mobile banking for low end phones to facilitate withdrawals, payments and transfer of money through banks. 

“Banks should provide accessible and affordable financial services, including saving bank accounts, micro credit, financial literacy, micro insurance and social security pension in a phased manner through bank branches and banking correspondents for which a roadmap has been drawn up to 2018,” Baldi added.

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