RBI deputy gov calls it step towards financial development of region
IMPHAL, October 17: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh today opened a Reserve Bank of India sub-office at Manipur Legislative Assembly Hill Areas Committee chairman`™s bungalow in Lilashing Khongangkhong today with RBI deputy governor Haran Rashid Khan in attendance.
Haran Rashid said the opening of the sub-branch is a step towards economic and financial development of the region.
Speaking at the function, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi said the opening of the RBI office will facilitate financial matters and the workings of banks in the State. The opening of the branch office will also regulate and monitor the workings of other non-banking financial corporation, he said.
The Chief Minister while observing that the State government has been pressing for the opening of an office of the RBI in the State since the past around four years, also expressed happiness over the opening of the office today.
Although the State government has allotted a site measuring 5 acres for the construction of a permanent RBI office in the State at Mantripukhri, a temporary office has been set up at the bungalow constructed as the residential bungalow of the chairman Manipur Legislative Assembly Hill Areas Committee, according to a statement of the Chief Minister`™s Secretariat.
Citing that Manipur is one of the States with the least number of banks in the country, the Chief Minister also appealed to the banks to stop opening banks considering only their economic viability and to open branches in the interior parts of the hill districts.
The Chief Minister also drew the attention of the officials of the RBI towards the issue.
He continued that the government under its `Tribal areas inclusive growth project` is focussing on opening bank branches in 27 blocks where there are no banking facilities.
Elaborating further, he said, under the project, integrated office complexes which will house SDO/ BDO offices, bank branches and police outposts are under construction at the headquarters of the 27 blocks.
He added some of the complexes have been completed and already inaugurated and efforts are on to complete the remaining others by March next year.
The Chief Minister also continued that with appeals being made to the banks to open their branches at the complexes, atleast 30/40 security personnel will be stationed in each of the complexes to secure the vicinity.
Without banks the State government`™s disbursement of salaries to its employees through their respective bank accounts and efforts to ensure that all government schemes reach the intended beneficiaries through their bank accounts is not feasible, he said.
The Chief Minister also assured that the newly opened RBI office in the State will certainly identify the banking needs of people and help in providing sustained benefits to the people.
He further urged the RBI, NABARD and other banks to play more proactive role towards an inclusive growth of the State.
He indicated that that the State Government will focus on flood control under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
The Chief Minister also expressed his excitement to have T Hauzel as the first GM of RBI sub-office Manipur.
RBI deputy governor Haran Rashid Khan said the newly opened RBI branch will aim to impart financial literacy and provide financial inclusion to the people of Manipur.
He said that the Reserve Bank is sensitive to the need for economic and financial development of North Eastern States and said that the opening of Imphal office is a step in this direction.
Explaining the role and functions of the Reserve Bank and the range of services it provides, Khan said that the Payment Systems Vision of the Reserve Bank for North East states is mindful of the remote hilly terrains.
Hence he stated the feasibility of Payment Banks and Small Finance Banks for such areas.
He remarked that physical connectivity in the remote hill areas can be preceded by digital connectivity through the Business Correspondent Model by simultaneously creating public credit culture to collectively benefit from banking services.
Banking penetration needs to be improved, he said and stressed the potential of development of agriculture, particularly organic agriculture, horticulture, handlooms and handicrafts, Self Help
Groups, Joint Liability Groups and development of exports under `Act East Policy`™.
He also stressed on digital connectivity to improve banking facilities through branches and business correspondents.
He ended his speech by upholding the underlying need for synergy among all the stakeholders and an enabling environment to achieve the long term quality results and assuring that efforts will be initiated for the unbanked blocks immediately.
Deepali Pant Joshi, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India while appreciating Manipur`™s tapestry of culture also extended full support to the initiative.
O. Nabakishore Singh, Chief Secretary, S S Barik, regional director, North East states along with other senior officers of the state government, commercial banks and the Reserve Bank were also attended the inaugural function.
The Imphal Office of the Reserve Bank will have Financial Inclusion and Development Department, Consumer Education and Protections Cell and Market Intelligence Unit.
Reserve Bank will now have offices in five of the seven states in the North East. The Imphal office will work in close coordination with the State Government, NABARD and the banks for financial and banking development of the Manipur, informed the Rupambara, AGM.