Giving a pat on the back of public sector banks, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said the Indian banking sector has responded well to difficult global environment by meeting credit needs of the economy.
“Banking sector in India has responded positively to meet the credit needs of the economy,” Mr. Mukherjee said at the 81st foundation day celebrations of Vijaya Bank here.
The public sector banks have played a crucial role in shaping the country’s economic growth and they constitute over 72 per cent of the banking assets in India, he said.
The total number of branches also increased from 8,000 in 1969, when banks were nationalised, to more than 87,000 now mainly because of the banking industry taking up more social responsibilities, Mr. Mukherjee said.
He said the current global economic developments and, more particularly, the sovereign debt crisis of Europe have once again brought into focus the need for better co-ordination between monetary and fiscal policies towards improving overall economic stability and growth.
In the recent times, Mr. Mukherjee said, the global financial markets have been troubled by perceptions of inadequate solutions to the euro-area sovereign debt problems, exposure of banks there and renewed fears of recession.
Global recovery will also be affected by some of the fiscal consolidation measures being taken in some of the advanced economies, he said.
On efforts to reach banking services across the country, Mr. Mukherjee said banks have been given a mandate to make the best use of technology and implement the Financial Inclusion Plan to reach all the 73,000 habitations with a population of 2,000 and above, before March 31, 2012.
During the occasion, he opened 40 branches and 80 ATMs of Vijaya Bank taking the total number to 1,240 and ATMs to 643 in the country.