BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Wednesday directed the Finance Department to constitute a committee comprising members from Reserve Bank of India (RBI), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and the State Level Banking Committee (SLBC) to monitor mobile banking services in remote areas.
Reviewing the ‘Bank of Wheels’ scheme, an initiative to provide banking facilities to people in areas having no bank branches, the Chief Minister directed that the mobile banks should cover at least two panchayats in a day.
Currently, 20 blocks of 16 districts are covered under the ‘Bank on Wheels’ programme. The district covered under the financial inclusion programme are Keonjhar, Koraput, Sundargarh, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Mayurbhanj, Sambalpur, Angul, Dhenkanal, Boudh, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada and Nayagarh.
As connectivity has emerged as a serious constraint in rural areas of the State prompting the Government to consider very small aperture terminal (V-SAT) technology that is considered secure and provides uninterrupted connectivity using satellites, the Chief Minister emphasised on the use of such technology for widening the financial inclusion programme.
The Chief Minister had flagged off 20 vans equipped with ATM, information kiosk and full-fledged mobile branches to the intended districts in September.
The Bank on Wheels scheme has proved to be a success by mobilising a deposit of over `one core besides receiving 990 loan applications.
It was decided at the meeting that each of the vans will touch at least five to six gram panchayats in a week.
The Bank on Wheels scheme has benefited a large number of people, particularly farmers and daily wage earners under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) by providing banking services, official sources said. More than 55 lakh farmers’ households and primary agricultural cooperative societies are covered under the first phase. The Government is planning to extend the service to all the blocks.