Sivaganga, Mar 10: In a bid to improve rural banking, the Union government will open grameen bank branches in 80 districts, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said today.
The new branches will be opened in the districts, which do not have such banks at present, he said while inaugurating the Pandian Grameen Bank's(PGB) Grammeen Tatkal lending scheme at Pallathur in the district.
The existing 99 grameen banks in the country would be organised to ensure that their branches functioned across the country, he said.
The strengthening of grameen banks was among the 'big schemes' of the government for the current fiscal.
"The objective of the government was to help more villagers, including illiterates, open bank accounts and avail loans for agriculture and business," he said.
Efforts were on to revive the "degenerated" cooperative banks, he said adding the Prof Vaidhyanathan Committee has submitted its recommendations to this effect. A Rs 13,500
crore plan was also being implemented in stages to strengthen the cooperative banks, he added.
"Till the cooperative banks were properly revived, grameen banks would have to serve the rural people," he said.
The two leading banks in Tamil Nadu--Pallavan Grameen Bank and Pandian Grameen Bank would be further strengthened by the government's initiative to organise and integrate the grameen banks, he added.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram also said that Nabard has sanctioned Rs 616 crore for a drinking water scheme in Tamil Nadu covering Ramanathapuram, Pudukottai and Sivaganga districts.
As many as 550 villages in Sivaganga district would benefit from the scheme.
The minister also stressed the need for starting more self help groups.
"My dream is that there should be 10 lakh shgs in the state with two crore women members. That would ensure that people were not cheated," he said.
He said the Pandian Grameen Bank had given more advances than what they had received as deposits (109 per cent credit deposit ratio) and it's NPA was nill.
The bank, which has completed 30 years of service, recently received permission to operate in Kanyakumari district and would also start branches in Theni and Thanjavur
The Finance Minister also distributed loans to the tune of Rs 5.57 crore to 60 beneficiaries in the district, including nine women auto drivers.