BHUBANESWAR: Stating that the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes has affected people in rural areas of unbanked gram panchayats (GPs) of Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday requested the Centre to open mobile banks and temporary counters for their benefit.
The issue was raised by the Chief Minister during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi. The Chief Minister said some urgent measures are required for ensuring that the vulnerable sections including women and tribals and critical sectors including small agriculture and cottage/small industries do not suffer on account of demonetisation.
Pointing out that the dislocation of full-fledged functioning of the banks in the cooperative sector is severely affecting the farmers, the Chief Minister urged the Prime Minister to direct the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow District Central Cooperative Banks to participate in the scheme by removing restrictions.
The cooperative banks form the lifeline of farmers in Odisha as they provide crop loans and sustain procurement operations in the absence of commercial banks in 4401 out of 6234 GPs in Odisha, he said.
Naveen also requested Modi to relax the mandatory requirement of PAN cards in scheduled areas to mitigate the hardship caused to the tribals. Over 95 per cent of people living in scheduled areas who are predominantly scheduled tribes do not have PAN cards and the bank coverage in these areas are abysmally poor, he said.
Stating that restriction on disbursement of cash in banks have caused serious dislocation in livelihood and entrepreneural activities of 4.5 lakh Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs), Naveen requested Modi to allow WSHGs to fully operate their bank accounts. He suggested that credible SHGs with proven track record may be allowed to work as banking correspondents or handle ATMs to provide last mile banking service connectivity to unbanked areas.
Besides, there is also a need to ensure adequate cash flow to banks and RBI should have 12-14 days’ cash requirements available with the branches especially of Rs 100 and Rs 500 currency notes. The Chief Minister also raised the issue of change in the pattern of release of State share in Central taxes which has resulted in choking of cash flow to the State.
“The Centre should consider to restore the previous system for ensuring adequate liquidity necessary to implement Centrally sponsored/state plan schemes,” he said.