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More than 50% panchayats in Bihar don’t have banks

At a time when the centre has launched its ambitious its ambitious “Jan Dhan” scheme to ensure 100% financial inclusion, banking services in Bihar is moving at snail’s pace.

Over 50% panchayats in the state are still to be covered by banking services.

Out of 8,463 panchayats in Bihar, 5,298 are yet to be covered with banking service, Finance minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav pointed out in the meeting of the State-Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) here on Wednesday.

The banks have been tasked to proceed with setting up branches in panchayats and achieve the target in a time-bound manner, Yadav said.

Expressing frustration over the lethargic pace of financial inclusion in Bihar, he said that the banks’ performance will be reviewed at the next SLBC meeting to be held in the next quarter and the state government would withdraw its money from under-performing banks.

The banks’ will be made accountable for its performance in terms of expansion of branches and opening accounts of all families in its jurisdiction.

He also said that a bank’s branch in Bihar is catering to twice the number of population as against the national average. The national average for a bank branch per population stands at 12000 but in Bihar the corresponding figure is 23000.

The Principal Secretary (Finance) Rameshwar Singh said that Credit-Deposit ratio (CDR) has shown steady improvement and increased to 42% by last quarter. Singh also expressed satisfaction with 20% growth rate in various sections in the first quarter of the current fiscal.

The official said that bankers were asked to organize camps for opening bank accounts of all families within its jurisdiction. “The banks have been tasked to cover all families in terms of opening of their bank accounts by next independence day,” he said.

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