Shimla,April 28:Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, appealed to the banking community in the state to extend their fullest cooperation to form agriculture cooperatives to liberally finance the farmers in their diversified agriculture practices thereby making the basic sector income and employment generating and to be the partners in making Himachal Pradesh the role model for rest of the country. He was addressing the inaugural session of the 110th State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) organized by the convener United Commercial Bank, here today.
Chief Minister said that the state government had already decided to allot hydro electric projects upto 5MW to the domestic entrepreneurs or their cooperatives with a view to develop entrepreneurship amongst the educated unemployed youth in the state. He said that special impetus was being given to agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, herbiculture and allied farming activities with a view to generate self employment and employment avenues to the rural youth at their doorsteps. He appreciated the banking fraternity for trebling the credit flow for agriculture from Rs. 386 crore in year 2004 to Rs. 1,183 crore during current financial year. He said that as a part of the drive to increase the agriculture credit flow, he urged Reserve Bank of India, NABARD and lead bank to coordinate a special drive during current financial year for issue of Kisan Credit Cards to every farmer in the state. He said that 3.40 lakh credit cards had already been issued and bankers needed to provide 100 percent credit coverage for the farmers on the analogy of household coverage completed in the state. He said that such credit cards would be of immense use in delivering loan services to the farmers.
Prof. Dhumal emphasized the need for 100 percent banking treasury system in coming three months since all commercial banks had completed its target for switch over to banking treasuries and 14 sub-treasuries were awaiting linkage through local regional rural banks. He thanked the RBI and concerned banks for supporting the drive of the state government to convert all non-banking treasuries into banking treasuries for better cash management and control of treasury system. He praised the bankers for increase in the credit deposit ratio in the state from 56.26 percent, the incremental credit deposit ratio from 50.59 percent to 82.67 percent. He hoped that the ambitious credit plan target fixed at Rs. 4,230 crore for current financial year would certainly boost economic activities in the state.
Chief Minister that the state had successfully achieved the target of 100 percent financial inclusion to emerge the First State in the country with complete banking services. He emphasized the need to strengthen the IT enabled banking services in the rural and far-flung areas. He emphasized the need to forge mutually beneficial strategies for technological upgradation of banking services.
Prof. Dhumal also launched the SLBC website addressed as www.slbchp.com
Shri Ravi Dhingra, Chief Secretary, said that hydro electric and tourism were other two sectors besides agriculture where bankers services were required. He said that identified hydro electric potential required to be exploited on priority to generate income to the state besides tourism which too had vast scope of expansion down to the village level where bankers could play pivotal role.
Shri V.K.Dhingra, Executive Director of the Convener UCO Bank, detailed the banking achievements during past financial year and urged to look into the organizational strengthening of the huge Self Help Group and Farmers Club infrastructure to expedite the process of financial credit and overall economic inclusion to boost the micro enterprise development and self employment in Himachal Pradesh. He said that the credit growth in the state was 23.13 percent during the last calendar year and agriculture sector had the highest of 22.99 percent followed by small scale industries with 18.25 percent and service sector with 13.11 percent.
Dr. J.Sadakkadulla, Regional Director of the Reserve Bank of India, emphasized the need for IT enabled banking services in Himachal Pradesh. He said that the Bank would soon be entering into MOU with the State Government over bringing the cooperative, small and urban banking services under the fold of the Reserve Bank of India for more professional banking services.
Shri Ripan Murgai, General Manager and Convener of the State Level Banking Committee welcomed the Chief Minister and delved upon the spectacular achievements of the banking in the state during preceding calendar year. He said that the bank had been closely coordinating with the state government for all its banking credit facilities so that people oriented banking was delivered to rural masses.
Shri Anil Bakshi, Deputy General Manager of UCO Bank, proposed vote of thanks.
Dr. Arvind Mehta, Secretary Finance, Senior officers of state government, Shri S.T.Raghuraman, Chief General Manager, NABARD. Senior Representatives from various banking institutions and state government attended the inaugural session.