NEW DELHI: Financial inclusion and implementation of central government schemes will top the agenda of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s June 14 meeting with the chief ministers of 12 eastern states.
The government is concerned about the inability of these states to implement the central schemes.
“All 12 states are expected to submit their financial inclusion plans for the next two years. State governments are also expected to submit project proposals to avail funds from the Financial Inclusion Fund,” said a finance ministry official. The meeting will be attended by the chief ministers of 12 states and chairmen of all leading public sector banks and financial institutions such as NABARD, SIDBI, IDBI, NHB, IIFCL and Exim bank.
Out of the total 129 unbanked blocks in the country, 91 are in the north-east region. Both the government and the Reserve Bank of India have committed to provide banking facilities to habitations having population in excess of 2,000 by March 2012.
The meeting, scheduled to be held in Patna, will also discuss the financial requirements of these states and will do reality check on the existing schemes involving credit flow to priority sector areas. The finance minister will also convene a meeting with the chairmen of public sector banks and assess their performance in these states.
The government has asked the state governments to implement co-contributory pension schemes on the lines of existing Swavalamban scheme initiated by the pension regulator PFRDA.
“The finance minister has written to the chief ministers requesting them to introduce similar schemes,” the finance ministry official said, requesting anonymity.
Haryana and Karnatka have already started such schemes targeted at specific occupational groups. Under the Swavalamban scheme, the government contributes Rs 1,000 per year to each account opened under the new pension scheme (NPS) in the year 2010-11.
Banks have complained that infrastructure and security issues have plagued their plans of opening branches in interior areas. “It is intended that such issues can be resolved with the support from state governments and list of such places can be made for opening bank branches,” the official said. As of now there are 17,312 bank branches in the 12 east zone states, which constitute around 20% of the total branches in the country.