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Assam will have 200 bank branches in 2013-14: RBI governor

Guwahati, Feb 7 (IANS) As many as 200 branches of rural banks will be opened in Assam in fiscal 2013-2014, Rreserve Bank of India Governor D. Subbarao said Thursday.

Interacting with media persons here, the central bank chief said that credit to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector would be extended to Rs.3,800 crore in the next fiscal year from the existing Rs.2,500 crore.

Subbarao also announced that National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and the Assam government decided to form one lakh Joint Liability Groups during 2013-14 to encourage credit to agriculture and allied activities.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who met Subbarao Wednesday evening, urged the RBI governor to consider a system of incentives and disincentives for the state's banks whose credit-deposit (CD) ratio is below 40 percent and to devise an effective strategy for bringing it at par with national average.

He also took up the issue of per capita credit flow which is very low in Assam as compared to other states, and urged Subbarao to initiate suitable measures urgently to improve the institutional credit in agriculture sector.

He said that the availability of institutional credit per hectare of gross cropped area in the state is only Rs.2,626 while the all-India figure was much higher at Rs.15,379.

Gogoi also apprised the RBI governor about the banks insisting on collateral security despite the RBI instruction not to ask for collateral security for loans below Rs.10 lakh. He called for bringing more villages with a population of 1,000-2,000 under the coverage of banks to ensure financial inclusion.

"This is required all the more for implementation of Direct Cash Transfer Scheme," he said.

Gogoi underlined the need for one-man rural branches of banks to be provided more manpower to ensure proper and effective delivery of services.