Gangtok, July 23: (IPR)
The 61st State Level Banker’s Committee Meeting was held in the conference hall of Chintan Bhawan, today. The Chief Minister who was the Chief Guest of the programme could not attend the meeting due to urgent engagements, however Cabinet Ministers, Kunga Nima Lepcha, Minister for Human Resource Development Department, Land Revenue & Disaster Management, Law & Parliamentary Affairs, Sports & Youth Affairs Department; Lok Nath Sharma, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Livestock, Fisheries & Veterinary Services, Food Security & Agriculture Development, Information & Public Relations and Printing and Stationery Department; Arun Upreti, Minister for Food Supplies & Consumer Affairs and Urban Development & Housing Department; Dr Mani Kumar Sharma, Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department along with the Chief Secretary of the State A.K Shrivastava were present at the occasion.
Chief General Manager- State Bank of India, Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mishra; General Manager- Reserve Bank of India (Gangtok), R. V Sangvai; General Manager- NABARD (Gangtok) Ms. R. Tshering; Regional Manager- SBI, Aftab Ahmed Mallick and representatives of various banks were present. Head of Departments, officials and the press attended the committee meeting as well.
The Chief Secretary read out the Chief Minister’s message, which
included his apology for not being able to attend the programme due to pressing
engagements. He thanked the Committee for giving him the opportunity to be a
part of it. His message stated that the number of banks that have increased
over the years, from meager numbers to 297 branches that includes 154 Public,
Private and Co-operative Banks, 90 branches of Indian Post Payment Banks and 53
branches of State Bank of Sikkim. There are also 126 Customer Service Points
that provide service in rural and far-flung areas.
72% GPU’s have been covered with banking facilities. The Chief Secretary conveyed that the Chief Minister feels that focus should be given in achieving 100% financial inclusion by the end of March 2020.
The substantial improvement in CD ratio from 40.9% to 47.1% in the financial year 2017-2018 to 2018-2019 will eventually stand at 79.5% after taking credit from outside the state.
In his message, the Chief Minister expressed his gratitude and acknowledged the banks for their tremendous work in proving credit linkages to the Self-Help Groups with the help of SRLM in the North, East and NERLP in the South and West Districts which have further enhanced the agriculture-related activities. He appreciated the active participation of the banks in social security schemes like Pradhan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan MantriSurakshaBima Yojana, Pradhan MantriJeevanJyotiBima Yojana and Atal Pension Yojana. Likewise, he also acknowledged them for providing direct benefit transfers under various schemes like MGNREGA, Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Scholarships, etc. and most of all, in making sure that it reaches the beneficiaries directly thereby reducing and minimizing corruption.
The Chief Minister relayed through the message that he would like to call upon all bankers to inculcate the habit of banking through awareness at the grass-root level and that banks should focus on organizing Financial Literacy Camps at School/College levels, indicating that students play a vital role in the progress of our country through digitization. His message concluded with gratitude to the banking bodies and hoped that they would continue to provide services for the betterment of the general public and the society as a whole.
A 29-Page agenda paper was distributed for the information and details of the annual credit plan.
The Chief Secretary expressed his pleasure at the presence of the four
Cabinet Ministers who graced the occasion, despite the Chief Minister’s absence.
He asked the gathering to give a standing ovation to the Ministers who had
readily displayed attendance in the programme.
He started by remarking that this committee meeting was historic and colossal for the fact that it was for the first time that the Chief Minister of Sikkim had taken a keen interest and participation along with his council of Ministers. He then spoke on the significance of banking and how crucial the system is for the society to function. “Credit is the vehicle of development,” he said, explaining the basic mechanism of banking. He stated that banking institutes should continue to aid loans to women at large for to their business ventures so as to bring about development. He said that the banks have to be ready to listen to the demands of the people and what matters most is the balance between demand and supply.
He recalled his first meeting with the SLBC in September 1986 and thanked the banks for playing a vital role in the development of the state. However, he said that while developments have been beneficial and plenty, we should all keep in mind not to exploit resources and always question if we have the capacity to meet the demands especially in the tourism sector. He also asked the banks to adhere to the problems of the common people and to avoid making excuses over link and connectivity.
He ended his address with a short poem, that explained how the financial cycle might be vicious in the society where assets turn to liabilities and the only way to deal with it is to keep our desires contained.
Minister for HRDD, LR&DM, L&PA, S&YA, KungaNima Lepcha thanked the SLBC for giving him the opportunity to be a part of the event and spoke on striving for the perfect rapport between the bank and the customers. He narrated his days as a bureaucrat and stated that having worked for many schemes, he was aware of the banking functions and understood the grievances of the public as well as the financial institutes. He said that it was very important to recognize and pick out the deserving beneficiaries for all schemes and our monetary activities and ventures should be such that it enhances and raises the standard of living. He asked everyone to come together and to put in sincere efforts for development as the target of the government is to reduce corruption. He also spoke on the importance of the education and health sector, recounting how significant it is to utilize financial aid in these two for the holistic growth of the state. He ended his address by saying that the administration, the banks and elected members are the three main legs that provide stability like a tripod and to work in co-ordination so as to bring about ultimate development.
Minister for H&WD, SJEWD, Minister for AHLF&VS, FS&AD, IPR and P&PD ,Minister for FCS&CA and UDHD also addressed the meeting.
The afternoon session included a meeting of the SLBC with the Chief Secretary, where the points that were highlighted in the morning session was talked over in detail, keeping in mind the annual credit plan.