Banks push for financial inclusion in Northeast

Written by Rohit Khanna | ROHIT KHANNA | Kolkata | Updated: Jun 28 2009, 02:37am hrs
The northeast region (NER) committee of the Indian Banks Association (IBA) has asked the lead banks of the seven states of the region to submit detailed survey report of the areas to increase financial inclusion in the states.

With an improved credit flow into the region, the apex bank has also decided to make arrangements for viability gap funding for setting up branches in NER. It is likely to meet up to 50% of the expenses to set up the branches.

Talking to FE at the sidelines of the inauguration of Samadhan-financial literacy & counselling centre (FLCC) in Kolkata, deputy governor of RBI Usha Thorat said, flow of credit to north eastern states by the banks has improved. The government is keen on having branches in some more areas of the northeast. Reserve Bank of India is stressing on viability gap funding for the banks in the region (NER), she said.

Meanwhile, the NER committee of IBA is working out ways to increase branches in the states. The IBA committee for NER was formed after the Thorat Committee's recommendations. Satish C Gupta, chairman of the NER committee of IBA and CMD of UBI said, We have asked the lead banks of all the seven states to submit the surveys including the areas where they feel work needs to be done. It will be distributed among the member banks then.

Five banks present in the committee are working on different measures to enhance financial inclusion in these seven states,he said. IBA is trying to identify some areas in the north-east where core banking branches could come up. We are talking to local grass root level organisations for using them as business correspondents, Thorat said.