Collector C. Kamaraj on Wednesday said that he was considering writing to the head offices of public sector banks regarding the inadequate performance of their Madurai branches in implementing a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) directive to provide services to unbanked villages with population above 2,000 before March 2011.

Addressing the District Level Review Committee meeting here on Wednesday, he said that 159 villages were identified in Madurai and it was resolved to cover half of them through business correspondent/business facilitator (BC/BF) models before June 2010. However, the achievement was found to be less than 40 per cent as on date.

Faced with a string of excuses from bankers for their failure to meet targets, the Collector expressed disappointment.

Housing scheme

When the implementation of the Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing Urban Poor (ISHUP), a centrally sponsored affordable housing scheme, came up for review, he again conveyed unhappiness over its pace of progress.

While the target was to cover 5,260 families before the current financial year, Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB), the nodal agency for implementing the scheme, said that only 2,330 applications had been received so far with 556 having been sent to the banks.

When queried, the TNHB official told the Collector that they had written to State Government seeking their nod to let the TNHB engineer grant approval for the housing plan rather than the respective local body. Mr. Kamaraj instructed the official not to wait for this approval as it could consume time and delay the scheme implementation and directed him to accept the approval of the local body itself.

Besides asking the TNHB to nominate a liaison officer in all local bodies to expedite implementation, he directed Lead District Manager KN. Subramanian to obtain regular updates and monitor progress of ISHUP. He said that TNHB must ensure 100 per cent target achievement.

Base rate system

B.R. Balasunder, Deputy Manager of Madurai circle of Canara Bank, the Lead Bank for Madurai district, said that financial inclusion and adoption of the new base rate system — which replaces the benchmark prime lending rate — from July 1 were two major events occurring in the banking sector. These two developments could accelerate the flow of credit.

Indicators healthy

A.J. George, RBI Assistant General Manager, said that banking indicators of the district was very healthy. R. Shankar Narayan, Assistant General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), said that more efforts must be taken by bankers to improve the credit off take of small and medium farmers and increase farm insurance coverage.

A. Thangavel, Project Officer, Mahalir Thittam, and V. Pitchai, Project Officer, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) took part.

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