State to have nearly six lakh bank accounts soon: Ibobi

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IMPHAL, August 28: As a national level mission, ‘Pradhanmantri Jan-Dhan Yojana’ was launched in the State today at Hotel Classic by the State Chief Minister, O Ibobi. The country wide mission which was announced by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech will be carried out at the district level too.

Addressing the function, the CM said that the primary objective of the scheme is to provide universal access to basic banking facilities for all households across the country through a bank branch or fixed point Business Correspondents called Bank Mitra within a reasonable distance.

He elaborated that this new scheme is indeed laudable as it will cover all households, both urban and rural, with at least one Basic Bank Account along with Ru-Pay Debit card facility having inbuilt “Accident Insurance” Cover of Rs. 1 lakh. Ru-Pay is poised to become India’s own unique domestic card network owned by National Payments Corporation of India.

Further an overdraft facility up to Rs. 5000 will also be provided to Aadhar enabled accounts after satisfactory operation of the account for six months. The Mission also envisages expansion of Direct Benefit Transfer under various Government Schemes through bank accounts to the beneficiaries, the Chief Minister said.

The scheme, by aiming to take financial literacy to the village level and seeking to provide micro-insurance to the people will also become a vehicle for financial institutions to become active partners in inclusive growth and nation-building, he said.

He stated that “in Manipur, we are looking forward to opening of a large number of bank accounts through the 9 Mega-camps taking place in all the nine districts of Manipur. The accounts would be opened by both public and private sector banks. As per the Census 2011, the total number of households in Manipur is 5, 91,107 and all these households are expected to be covered by this scheme and the biggest benefit of this scheme will be the access for all formal credit avenues.”

The CM continued that so far, the unbanked population has been dependent on informal channels of credit and often fell prey to greedy moneylenders. The CD ratio in the State is poor, hovering around 43 percent as against the national average of more than 75 percent Financial Inclusion will not be complete without taking smaller States along and improving the CD Ratio and banking penetration ratio in rural areas.

He opined that it will provide a platform for inculcating the habit to save money. This is critical as the absence of savings often makes them vulnerable.

It may be mentioned that in Manipur, e-payment in the government sector has been introduced since 2011, whereby all government payments including payment of salaries and all beneficiary related schemes have been made mandatory through e-payment except for a small number of identified payments.

He highlighted that the state has the highest concentration of unbanked blocks in the country. Most of the interior villages in the state are deprived of banking and financial services and the position of our state on the scale of Financial Inclusion is perhaps the lowest.

The bank branch to population ratio is very poor in Manipur. This low banking outreach in Manipur is a matter of great concern for the state government and needs immediate redressal. With a population of 27.22 lakhs, the total number of bank branches and ATMs in Manipur is 158 and 199 respectively which is extremely low and in rural the penetration of banks is very poor and has been a major issue for the government, the CM added.

The State Government is making constant efforts to establish more bank branches in the interior areas. You all are aware that to enable coverage of all the block headquarters with banking facility, the state government is constructing integrated complexes in 27 un-banked Block head-quarters under “Tribal Areas Inclusive Growth Project”, wherein the block level administrative offices, police outposts and banks will function in one complex.

Further, the CM said that the 399 Common Service Centers (CSCs) which have been set up under the National e-Governance to provide for delivery of e-services to the rural and remote location scan becomes an effective vehicle to deliver financial services to rural Manipur.

There is a need to associate other stake-holders like BSNL in making the roadmap for Financial Inclusion a workable one as telecom connectivity is an issue that needs to be specially tackled.

As part of the launching ceremony a live telecast of the address of Prime Minister from New Delhi and film based on Financial Inclusion was showcase. Passbook also distributed to customers for accounts under PMJDY.

In the function, Chief Secretary PC Lawmkunga; General Manager SBI Corporate Center, PK Verma and Principal Secretary, Finance, Barun Mitra also attended.

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