Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called upon India’s banking sector to establish banks, which rank among the top banks of the world.
He was speaking at Gyan Sangam, a two-day bankers’ retreat that culminated in Pune today.
At the summit, the PM said that this was perhaps the first time banks had given tasks to the prime minister through a presentation, adding that said the Gyan Sangam reflected team spirit and a collective will to address issues. He described Gyan Sangam as a unique initiative.
Modi said the objective in this bankers’ retreat was to find solutions to problems, and this was the first step towards catalyzing transformation. He said informal discussions helped achieve meeting of minds, which in turn enabled strategic goal setting.
The prime minister appreciated the efforts of the banks in successfully implementing Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. He said this is going to have multiple effects. He said the Jan Dhan Yojana would help redefine goal setting among banks, due to enhanced confidence levels following the success of the programme.
The Prime Minister said 7 crore families had benefited from direct cash transfers of LPG subsidy in just three days since January 1. He said this represented one-third of all families India. He said such achievements should boost confidence.
The prime minister said the banking sector of a country mirrors its economic rise. Japan and China had banks in the top ten banks of the world during their economic rise.
The prime minister said banks would be run professionally, and there would be no interference. But accountability was essential. He added that the government had no vested interest, and public sector banks can derive strength from this fact.
However, the prime minister said India is a democracy. He said he is against political interference, but supports political intervention in the interest of the people. He added political intervention will enable the voice of the common man to reach such institutions.
Modi also highlighted the issue of poor financial literacy in the country and called upon banks to take the lead in encouraging competitions on financial literacy in schools, much like mock Parliament competitions.
The prime minister said banks should develop dedicated teams to fight cyber crime.
The prime minister said that with 81 percent of branches and 77 percent of deposits, the net profits should improve from current levels of 45 percent.
The PM called for developing common strengths among the 27 public sector banks. He suggested this could be done in areas such as software, and advertising. He gave the example of number portability in the telecom sector in this regard.
He said this would improve the customer-centric focus of banks. The PM said public sector banks, as a team, should also be conscious of the direction in which the country is moving, and work towards simplifying procedures to facilitate the common man.
Modi also called upon banks to trust the common man.
The prime minister said the Swachhta Abhiyan has caught the imagination of the younger generation. He called upon each public sector bank to help develop 20,000 to 25,000 Swachhta entrepreneurs.
He also asked banks to prioritize loans to students as this would be a very productive investment for the country. He said the country needs skill development for its youth in a big way, and banks need to take the lead in this.
The prime minister asked public sector banks to set goals for the 75th anniversary of independence in the country in 2022. He said he had resolved to provide housing for all by 2022, and banks had a huge opportunity here, as 11 crore houses were required.
Modi also said banks should redefine parameters for success. For instance, let them prioritize loans to enterprises which will generate more employment, he said.
The PM called for an end to lazy banking, and asked banks to take on a proactive role in helping the common man.
The PM added that as part of corporate social responsibility, banks should take up one sector each year to play a positive role.
Governor of Maharashtra Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, MoS Finance Jayant Sinha, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, and Secretary Financial Services Hasmukh Adhia were present on the occasion.