Odisha Govt asked banks to set up bricks, mortar branches in the unbanked regions of the State

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Bhubaneswar: The State Government on Saturday asked banks to set up bricks and mortar branches in the unbanked regions of the State.

“Our Government is stressing direct benefit transfer (DBT) under several schemes. We have requested bankers to set up banks in unbanked gram panchayats,” said Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari after attending the 157th meeting of the State-level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC).

Out of 6,234 gram panchayats, 4,921 GPs have no bank branches in the State.

With the Government making payment to various social security schemes beneficiaries through DBT, lack of banks in rural areas has been hindering the process, said the Minister. He also expressed displeasure over poor lending to the agriculture sector. Only 38.13 per cent of the target is achieved, he said, adding that lending also remained poor in the allied sectors.

“We have requested bankers for opening brick and mortar branches in all areas and a target has been set. The beneficiaries of different schemes are facing difficulty in receiving money in the absence of bank branches,” said Development Commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra.

Now, there are 5,395 bricks-and-mortar branches operating in Odisha.

Debashish Panda, Special Secretary, Department of Financial Service, however, said that there is no liquidity problem and the banks are flush with funds. “Banking Correspondent is a very effective model. People of the community in aspirational and LWE districts have been engaged as BCs,” Panda said.

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