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Banks in J&K should  prioritize lending to agriculture, education: CS chairs 13th UTLBC meet

June 1, 2024
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Srinagar, May 31: Banks operating in the UT of J&K need to deepen their presence further in the rural spaces and sharpen their focus on lending to critical sectors of the economy, especially agriculture, housing, and education.

Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo said this while chairing the 13th meeting of UTLBC of J&K here to review the performance of banks and financial institutions in the dispensation of credit and other banking services during the financial year 2023-24.

The meeting was attended by the Principal Secretary (Finance) Santosh D. Vaidya, Commissioner Secretary (Industries & Commerce Department) Vikramjit Singh, Regional Director (RBI) Chandrashekhar Azad, MD & CEO J&K Bank- Convenor J&K UTLBC- Baldev Prakash, commissioner Secretaries to Government, and other senior functionaries of the Government, RBI, NABARD, Banks, Departmental Heads of J&K Government, insurance companies and Lead District Managers.

Directing the banks to push credit flow into agriculture through schemes like HADP and Investment Credit Schemes in agriculture, Atal Dulloo said, “You need to pump more funds into agriculture and its allied activities because J&K’s economy is largely dependent upon it.”

“Also the Banks must prioritize to extend a credit line to vital sectors like housing’ and ‘education’ is more of a long-term investment in the local as well as national economy”, he added.

As part of strengthening their presence across all the rural pockets of the UT, the Chief Secretary urged the banks to consider on-boarding already available Common Service Centres (CSCs) and VLEs as their Business Correspondents (BC) to expand their outreach in the under-served areas for providing better banking opportunities to the people living in these neglected pockets of the UT. Citing states like Orissa and Jharkhand as examples, banks need to have either a branch or BC in every panchayat to serve the common people, especially in rural areas”, he said.

The Chief Secretary also emphasized upon the need to ease out the formalities of sponsored schemes for the general public to make these schemes hassle-free.

Speaking about the lack of sufficient financial penetration in J&K, Principal Secretary (Finance) Santosh D. Vaidya stressed the need to increase lending in J&K to achieve equitable ‘financialization’.

Earlier, in his welcome address MD & CEO, J&K Bank Baldev Prakash expressed optimism saying, “With the kind of support from UT Government, RBI, and NABARD we have all the reasons to be optimistic that the banking credit scenario in UT of J&K shall experience a new beginning and be a facilitator for inclusive development of the UT of J&K.”

He assured the J&K Government that banks operating in J&K UT will continue to extend all possible support for implementing the programs and schemes aimed at entrepreneurial development, employment generation, and poverty alleviation in the UT.

Earlier General Manager, J&K Bank, Syed Rais Maqbool while making a presentation on the financial achievements of various banks during the Financial year 2023-24 informed that banks in J&K have disbursed Rs.66,052 Crore to 18.15 Lac beneficiaries registering an achievement of 128% in financial terms and 110% in physical terms of Annual Credit Plan 2023-24.

It was also informed that banks have sanctioned loans to the tune of Rs 2234 Crore to 50,418 beneficiaries under major employment generation schemes during the period.

The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the chair presented by the General Manager, J&K UTLBC.

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