‘Banking correspondent a no-go in Naxal-hit areas’

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh admitted that introducing banking correspondent model in Naxal-affected districts is not practical.

New Delhi: After vigorously pushing the
banking correspondent model for disbursement of MNREGA wages
to check graft, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday
admitted that introducing it in Naxal-affected districts is
not practical.

"If there is no bank, there is no use for Banking
Correspondent models. Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh even doesn`t
have a post office," he said, adding cash payments is the only
way out to attract tribals and other poor people to MNREGA
jobs.
Ramesh had been advocating disbursement of MNREGA wages
to workers through banks and post offices to end the problem
of delayed payment and siphoning of fund by the middlemen
since he assumed office in July this year.

The Minister, however, said today that there were no banks
or post offices in some of the Naxal-affected districts and
"we must have cash payments in some of these most affected
areas."
Addressing a seminar titled "empowering lives through
MGNREGA: Strengthening the Reform Agenda", he said the poor
penetration of post offices and banks in some Naxal-affected
districts has created a very "unhappy situation".

The Minister, however, asked the states which have better
banking and post office connectivity to follow the banking
correspondent model.

Ramesh said he would write to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
Jayalalitha to follow banking correspondent model in the state
as there is good connectivity to reach out to the rural poor.

PTI

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