Naveen seeks mobile banking facilities in rural areas

Bhubaneswar, Orissa. For Archive. Date:24/12/2010. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is at a function in Bhubaneswar. Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

New Delhi: Raising concerns over impact of demonetisation in rural and tribal areas, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today asked the Centre to introduce mobile banking facilities in such areas and advocated hassle-free transaction facility for weaker sections.

“The Odisha government supports the demonetisation move of the Centre but the transformation needs to be hassle-free for the people,” he told reporters outside Parliament after meeting the Prime Minister here.

“I have requested the Centre to allow women SHGs to fully operate without any restrictions and also to introduce mobile banking facilities in rural areas,” he added.

Patnaik, who submitted a memorandum to the PM containing specific demands of the state, asked the Centre not to make PAN card compulsory for deposits by tribal and rural people.

The Chief minister told the Prime Minister that the Odisha government wholeheartedly supports any measure against corruption and black money and stands for greater transparency in public life.

Patnaik underlined that some urgent measures are required to ensure that the vulnerable sections including women and tribals and critical sectors including agriculture and small scale/cottage do not suffer on account of demonetisation.

Over 70 per cent of the farmers in Odisha are served through Cooperative Banks and about 44 lakh families are covered under Kisan Credit Card.

Cooperative Banks including district central cooperative banks, primary agricultural cooperative societies and large-sized adivasi multipurpose cooperative societies are the lifeline of farmers in Odisha as they provide crop loans and sustain procurement operations in the absence of commercial banks in 4401 out of 6234 gram panchayats in the state.

Highlighting that disruption in full-fledged functioning of these banks is severely affecting farmers, he said the Reserve Bank of India should allow district central cooperative banks to exchange and deposit notes, remove withdrawal restrictions and ensure increased cash flow to these banks.

He told the Prime Minister that restrictions on disbursement of cash in banks have hit entrepreneurial activities of 4.5 lakh-strong Women Self Help Groups.

On the Mahanadi issue, he asked the Centre to issue direction to Chhattisgarh to stop further construction on Mahanadi and act expeditiously to protect the Internet of Odisha.

Asked about the response of the PM, Patnaik said it was “Positive. The Prime Minister said he would look into the issues raised by him.