New Delhi: The Election Commission has allowed the launch of the first all-woman Bharatiya Mahila Bank in the country on Tuesday but asked government not to open its branches in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh and neither do publicity of the bank in these poll-bound states.
In a letter to the Finance Ministry, the Commission has said government should ensure that no publicity of the bank opening be done in poll-bound states.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi are expected to be present at the inaugural ceremony of the country`s first all-woman bank in Mumbai tomorrow, coinciding with the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Finance Minister P Chidambaram will also attend.
Government earlier wanted to launch the bank in Delhi but changed its plan in view of the Model Code of Conduct in force in the capital.
With the inauguration of the bank, seven branches would become operational across the country, including in Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Guwahati. The government proposed opening of the bank branches in Delhi and Indore also, which has been disallowed by the poll body till the end of polls.
Headquartered in Delhi, the bank proposes to have 25 branches by March 31, 2014.
The Finance Minister had announced the setting up of the all-woman bank in his Budget speech this year. The bank will be set up with an initial capital of Rs 1,000 crore.
The Reserve Bank of India gave its in-principal approval for the Bharatiya Mahila Bank in June.
Earlier this week, the government appointed Usha Ananthasubramanian as the bank`s Chairperson and Managing Director.
"Women are heads of many banks today, including two public sector banks, but there is no bank that exclusively serves women. Can we have a bank that lends mostly to women and women-run businesses, that supports women SHGs and women`s livelihood, that employs predominantly women, and that addresses gender-related aspects of empowerment and financial inclusion? I think we can," Chidambaram had said.