Sivaganga (TN): Public sector banks have been asked set up ATMs in all branches by March, 2014 to enable customers in rural pockets to do banking round-the-clock, Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said.
Inaugurating the 5999th branch of Punjab National Bank at nearby Tirupattur, he said orders had been issued to all nationalised banks in this regard and their CMDs had been asked to implement the same in the current financial year.
The Finance Minister has also asked banks to take steps to set up 8,000 branches in the country, especially in rural areas. Last year 6,000 branches were opened, he said while speaking at a function last night in connection with PNB branch inauguration.
He said banks had also been directed to disburse crop loans to farmers and offer advances to purchase agriculture equipment.
Chidambaram said though there was a slowdown in economic development now, it would take place at an appropriate time. "We should remember that we are in the second place in economic development while in many countries the economic development was zero percent".
Maintaining that need for banking services across the country had increased due to business development, Chidambaram said bank branches were being opened only after studying viability and business prospects.
Declaring open the 6000th and 6001st branches of the Punjab National Bank at Kallal and Alangudi in Sivaganga district, he said "opening of the bank branch is an indication of development in the area."
The demand for banking service had increased in urban areas as business was expanding, he said.
Chidambaram, elected to Lok Sabha from Sivaganga, said he could see his constituency's development in various fields.
Broad gauge trains had come, highways were better besides functioning of a Medical College. "This is what is development. I feel the constituency has developed."
In an indirect dig at the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu, the Union Minister said "arresting people under Goondas Act, or opening new police stations is not development."
Chairman and Managing director of Punjab National Bank K R Kamath presided over the function.