BHUBANESWAR: With a sizeable population in rural areas facing acute cash crunch due to demonetisation of high value currency notes, the State Government on Tuesday requested commercial banks to expedite the process of financial inclusion by deploying requisite number of banking correspondents.
The Government has given a list of 1,200 Bank Mitras (banking correspondents) and 2.5 lakh self help groups (SHGs) to the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) for selection and appointment in rural areas.
The issue was discussed at a high level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary AP Padhi here. Initially, 1,000 banking correspondents (BCs) will be recruited for as many gram panchayats (GPs) in 107 blocks, Principal Secretary, Finance TK Pandey told reporters after the meeting.
Pandey said 6,000 more BCs will be appointed in as many panchayats in next six months so that banking services could be provided to people at their doorsteps.
The Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM) will act as corporate BC and support banks in appointing SHG members as BCs. Meanwhile, SBI, UCO Bank and Regional Rural Banks have decided in-principle to engage OLM Bank Mitras in rural areas, he added.
As many as 4,400 of 6,500 GPs of the State are still outside the ambit of banking service. Banks have covered 40,605 villages of which 584 are covered through brick and mortar branches while the rest by branchless modes, mainly through BC mode.
The Chief Secretary requested commercial banks operating in the State to take the facility offered by Nabard for installation of V-SAT. The national bank has sanctioned `20.55 crore to Canara Bank, UCO Bank, SBI, United Bank of India, PNB and Syndicate Bank for installation of 516 solar powered V-SAT at fixed kiosks or common service points (CSPs) in areas having connectivity issues in the State.
The banks have been asked to take necessary steps for setting up solar-based V-SAT in difficult areas on mission mode and convey the developments to Nabard and SLBC on monthly basis.
On the shortage of new `500 and `1000 notes, the Finance Secretary said the State Government is mulling over digital payment mode to overcome the problem.
To raise awareness on digital payment among people, a training programme will be held at district level under the guidance of the Collector. The aim of the training programme is to acquaint people with cashless transaction, he added.