Nagaland CM urges bankers to open branches in remote areas

  • | Tuesday | 23rd August, 2022

Kohima, Aug 23 (PTI) With 26 out of the 74 rural development blocks in Nagaland remaining unbanked, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Tuesday requested bankers of the country to expand their network in the North-eastern state.Banks should not open branches only in the state capital Kohima and commercial hub Dimapur, he said while addressing the Bankers’ Conclave & Credit Outreach Program here.“We urge them (bankers) to cover the remoter towns, and especially the unbanked 26 of the 74 blocks,” the chief minister said in presence of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi.“We will be happy to support the private banks in their credit outreach activities, to facilitate the expansion of their credit portfolios so that they take on a greater share of priority sector lending,” Rio said at the bankers’ conclave.The meet is part of the Nagaland-government organised three-day Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Investment conclave inaugurated by Sitharaman on Monday.The state government has been encouraging and facilitating the people of Nagaland to take up private enterprises, but to meet their aspirations, access to credit and financial services from banks has been a concern, the chief minister said.Limited access to banks makes the entrepreneurs dependent to a large extent on informal lending, he said.A large portion of the credit by banks, other than that extended under various government schemes, has been only for consumer goods or housing loans, he said, adding that it is imperative to increase the credit flow to those who require it for running their enterprises.“This is a critical area where banks have to put in more effort,” he said asserting that the state government is ready to support them and address their concerns.With a view to increasing the volume of credit to priority sectors, Rio along with Sitharaman launched the Chief Minister’s Microfinance Initiative on the occasion.“The Initiative will make credit more affordable and available to individuals, Self Help Groups and Farmer Producer Organisations,” he said while announcing that through this, the government hopes to disburse credit worth Rs 200 crore to Rs 250 crore during the year.This will further help increase farmers’ incomes, promote credit discipline, encourage private enterprise and improve the agri marketing network and infrastructure in the state, he said.The chief minister expressed happiness that the North East Small Finance Bank has expressed the intent to extend loans of Rs 150 crore to small entrepreneurs and farmers, and open up to 10 branches in the state. PTI NBS NN NN

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