Taking account of bank accounts

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R. Sairam

Financial inclusion project under way in nine districts

MADURAI: A bank account for every household in the district — this is the latest exercise under way in Madurai and eight other districts as part of ‘total financial inclusion,’ a Reserve Bank of India project.

This exercise, being co-ordinated by Canara Bank, the lead bank in this district, will extend financial sector services to every household.

“Having a bank account will make people a part of the financial sector. They can easily avail the benefits of Government’s welfare schemes where assistance is provided through cheques,” according to Lead District Manager KN. Subramanian.

As per RBI and Union Government guidelines, the exercise should be completed in Madurai district by August 15.

Surveys are on to find out the number of people having bank accounts at the Block, Town Panchayat, Municipality and Corporation level, he said.

Blocks and Corporations, with about 2.5 lakh households each, comprise a major chunk of the population. The remaining two - Town Panchayats and Municipality – together comprise around two lakh households.

The lead bank expects around 7.4 lakh accounts in the district. “It could even go up to 10 lakh as we are going to remote places that have hitherto remained untouched by banks, he said.

In all 13 blocks of the district, the survey has reached the final stage and is expected to be completed in a weeks time. ‘Makkal Nala Paniyalargal,’ attached to respective panchayat unions, carried out these surveys in the blocks. Each of the 72 wards of the Madurai Corporation are being covered by individual bank branches.

While some branches have sought the help of non governmental organisations to carry out the survey, others have roped in school students and National Service Scheme volunteers.

Officers have been appointed in every department to coordinate with the lead bank. Voters’ lists have been sought from the Madurai Corporation through liaison officers, he said.

Great emphasis has been laid on the survey procedures to ensure that no household went uncovered.

“Extensive house to house surveys are being carried out and banks have been asked to maintain all records properly for future verification by any independent agency,” Mr. Subramanian said, expressing hope that by August 15 every household in the district would have a bank account.

Once the statistics and requirements are clear, ‘no frills, zero balance’ accounts would be opened for them. In remote villages, accounts will be created on the spot, he said.

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