Odisha signs MoU with six banks for providing banking facilities in unbanked gram panchayats

By Consultants Review Team Thursday, 14 September 2023

inIn order to offer banking services in unbanked gram panchayats, the Odisha government inked an MoU with six public sector banks. The six public sector banks State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India, UCO Bank, Bank of India, and Bank of Baroda will offer banking services through CSP Plus banking locations in all of the state's unbanked gram panchayats. "Financial inclusion is a high-priority agenda of the government. It is still a critical challenge since banking penetration in the state is quite low and not uniform across the districts. Out of 6798 GPs, around 65 percent of GPs (4373 GPs) do not have brick-and-mortar branches.

 Since banking is an essential service for financial inclusion, every GP of the State needs to be provided with a brick-and-mortar branch for easy access to banking services and strengthening the Direct Benefit Transfer system in the state," said a press statement of the state Finance Department. Further, it stated, "Government of Odisha has therefore come forward with an ambitious scheme for providing banking services to every GP through CSP Plus banking outlets. The scheme will be implemented in a phased manner to cover all unbanked GPs of the state within the current financial year 2023-24. As per the statement, the Odisha Government will provide rent-free banking space for 5 years.

The state government will also bear one-time expenses for Fixed Costs and Recurring expenses for a period of three years. A provision of Rs 500 crore has been made for the scheme. "This is one of the landmark initiatives by any State Government to transform financial inclusion and take it to the next level, Odisha is the first State in the entire country to adopt such an exemplary model for providing banking services to all GPs," the statement further said. "People residing in all Unbanked Gram Panchayats of the state will have easy access to all kinds of banking services, free of cost. Senior citizens, differently abled people and pregnant women will get doorstep banking services and avail the Direct Benefit Transfer of the Government in a timely manner," it added.

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