Last Updated: November 25, 2022, 11:47 IST
Bhagwant Kishanrao Karad, the Union Minister of State for Finance, was on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to review the implementation of various financial schemes. During the inspection, the minister said the boards of banks can settle on waiving the penalties on accounts, which don’t maintain a minimum balance. He was replying to an issue asking the government’s stand on directing banks not to charge any penalty from the accounts where the balance falls below the prescribed minimum levels.
Bhagwat said, “Banks are independent bodies. They have boards which can decide to waive off the penalty.” Further, he appreciated the banking sector of Jammu and Kashmir and directed them to enhance their performance on those parameters where they are lagging behind the national average.
The minister has asked the banks to conduct Saturday camps to bring the share of Jan Dhan Yojana accounts closer to the national average. While the national average is 49,135 per lakh population, the numbers in Jammu and Kashmir are quite as low as 21,252 per lakh. “The credit-deposit ratio in Jammu and Kashmir is 58 percent and I have asked them to raise it,” Bhagwant said.
The minister was satisfied with proper banking communication within the Union Territory, as there was a bank correspondent within 5 kilometres. He asked the public and private sector banks to expand in Jammu and Kashmir. Bhagwant also highlighted the necessity for more branches and ATMs, as the population density in the Union Territory was less compared to other states.
Apart from review work, the minister inaugurated four branches of banks and an ATM. The banking sector in the Union Territory will open 20 new bank branches by March 2023. While for financial literacy and awareness of schemes, two vans for aspirational districts Kupwara and Baramulla are sanctioned through NABARD. These vans will proliferate the word of the government with bank loan schemes.
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