Ensure opening of no-frill student accounts: Govt

The government Tuesday said it has asked all the states and union territories to inquire about reports that banks are not allowing students from minority communities to open `no-frill` accounts.

New Delhi: The government Tuesday said it has asked all the states and union territories to inquire about reports that banks are not allowing students from minority communities to open `no-frill` accounts that do not require any minimum balance.

The ministry of Minority Affairs has issued an advisory to the chief secretaries of all state governments and union territories to look into the matter, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a statement tabled in the Rayba Sabha.

"The ministry of Minority Affairs has reported that they have received feedback regarding non-opening of `no-frill` accounts by banks in favour of students from minority communities who wish to avail of scholarships being awarded by the ministry...," he said.
He further added: "Ministry of Minority Affairs has issued an advisory to the chief secretaries of all states/UTs to look in the matter and that banks may be adviced to allow students from minority communities to open no frills acconts..."

Mukherjee also said that his ministry has asked all the chief executives of convenor banks of State Level Bankers` Committee (SLBC) to review the issue of minority students on a regular basis.

In the meantime, Parliament was also informed Tuesday the total amount of loans outstanding to minority communities by the public sector banks went up by 35.21 percent to Rs 1,12,038.82 crore during 2009-10.

The outstanding credit to minorities during 2008-09 and 2007-08 by public sector banks (PSBs) were Rs 82,864.65 crore and Rs 58,662.67 crore, respectively, Minister of State for Finance SS Palanimanickam said in a written reply to the Upper House of Parliament.
"As on March 31, 2010, total credit (outstanding) to minority communities by PSBs stood at Rs 1,12,039 crore," he said, adding that the highest amount of outstanding loan was from the State Bank of India at Rs 29,043.03 crore.

The minister added that priority is being given to open branches of public sector banks in minority concentrated districts across the country, as laid out during the government`s 2008-09 budget.

"The PSBs have opened 524 branches during the year 2008-09 and 743 branches during 2009-10," Palanimanickam said.

PTI

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