RBI blueprint for RRBs in West Bengal

Kolkata, Jan 19 | Updated: Jan 20 2007, 06:03am hrs
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed a road map for commercial banks in West Bengal as regards consolidation of their regional rural banks (RRBs). It has suggested that they bring down the number of RRBs to three - from nine, at present.

The sponsored banks are United Bank of India (UBI), which has five RRBs, UCO Bank (three) and Central Bank (one). However, the Union finance ministrys notification for the amalgamation is still awaited.

The state government has proposed two locations for headquarters of the RRBs to the Centre, the approval of which is also pending.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the RBI has held discussions with the banks, which have started working according to its instructions. The central government has 50% stake in the RRBs, while the sponsored bank and the state government have 35% and 15%, respectively.

The state has being lagging behind in the consolidation of RRBs, while in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Assam such an exercise is almost over.

Meanwhile, the RBI has identified Hooghly district in West Bengal for 100% financial inclusion. UCO Bank, the leading bank of the region, State Bank of India, Central Bank, UBI and Allahabad Bank have already commenced the groundwork. The Reserve Bank aims to achieve 100% financial inclusion by the end of the current fiscal. On Thursday, the RBI declared Gulbarga district in Karnataka as a 100% financial inclusion, with SBI as the lead bank. The effort was complimented by Krishna Grameena Bank, State Bank of Hyderabad, Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank.