Odisha has only 13 bank branches per one lakh people

Odisha has 13 bank branches and 18 ATMs per one lakh population against the national average of 18 and 23 and the State is among the bottom-10 states in terms of financial inclusion.

Published: 31st May 2022 07:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st May 2022 07:19 AM   |  A+A-

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Representational image of public service banks or PSBs.

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Even as lending has improved across all sectors making it over Rs 1 lakh crore from Rs 51,400 crore in the last five years, people in most of the villages in the State struggle to get financial services due to lack of banking and ATM facilities.

Of 6,798 panchayats, only 2,738 panchayats have brick and mortar branches. Although 4,038 panchayats have business correspondents and customer service points (CSPs), 177 villages under 22 panchayats do not have any banking facility.

Odisha has 13 bank branches and 18 ATMs per one lakh population against the national average of 18 and 23. The State is among the bottom-10 states in terms of financial inclusion. Despite regular reviews and demands from the State government, the banking institutions are yet to come up with strategies to cover all unbanked panchayats.

The panchayats covered with other banking outlets instead of brick and mortar branches are deprived of the real banking services as the account holders alleged they are at the mercy of banking correspondents, CSPs or the persons in-charge of the outlets.

"Talapada under Remuna block in Balasore district is a seaside panchayat with people having shrimp farms, motorised boats and service holders. They all travel a distance of nearly 8 km to avail banking facilities. Our repeated requests to have a bank branch has fallen in deaf ears," pointed out Pramodini Das, a PRI member. 

In 2021, the RBI had asked all State Level Bankers Committees (SLBCs) to identify one district in each state on pilot basis and allot the same to a bank having significant footprint to make the district 100 per cent digitally enabled.

However, among the unbanked panchayats, more than half of the villages are located in the coastal districts of Jajpur, Kendrapara, Balasore and Bhadrak. With banks delaying opening new branches, the State government has engaged SHG members to serve people as banking correspondent agents (BCAs) in the unbanked panchayats. But people are devoid of core banking services.

The issue was recently discussed during a high-level meeting with several public sector and private banks. They have been urged to come up with new strategies to open branches in the unbanked panchayats as credit flow is not an issue nowadays with panchayats handling works worth crores of rupees.

Principal Secretary of the Finance department Vishal Kumar Dev said nearly 60 per cent of the panchayats in the State do not have brick and mortar branches which severely affect the banking services. "Total financial inclusion is impossible without the panchayats having banking services. Keeping in view the national average, the number of bank branches and ATMs in Odisha should be 7,605 and 9,369 respectively. Banks will have to open 2021 B&M branches and 2036 ATMs in unbanked panchayats," he added. 


  • Total Panchayats - 6,798

  • Panchayats with brick and mortar bank branches - 2,738

  • Panchayats with business correspondents and CSPs - 4,038

  • 177 villages under 22 panchayats don’t have any banking facility


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