Staff Correspondent

MANGALORE: The business of the 400 bank branches in Dakshina Kannada has crossed Rs. 20,855 crore as of September 2009, the end of the first half of the financial year.

At the district-level meeting of the Consultative Committee for Banking Development here on Tuesday, SyndicateBank deputy general manager Sujir Prabhakar said that total deposits at the end of the first half of the year stood at Rs. 13,504 crore, and advances at Rs. 7,351 crore.

Deposits went up by 14 per cent and advances by six per cent on a year-on-year basis, he said. The credit-deposit ratio of the district stood at 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

Bank lead manager Udayakumar said that under the District Credit Plan, disbursement of advances to the priority sector stood at Rs. 930 crore against the target of Rs. 1,161 crore during the period. Lending to the agricultural sector stood at Rs. 550 crore, small-scale industries at Rs. 130 crore and other priority sectors at Rs. 250 crore.

He said that the Union Government had identified the district as a minority concentration district and banks had been directed to ensure that 15 per cent of the priority sector comprised minorities. Rs. 1,164 crore had been to lent to minorities, which constituted 26 per cent of the priority sector advance, far higher than the target, he said.

Vivekananda College (Puttur) professor of Economics Vigneshwara Varmudi delivered a special lecture on the ASEAN agreement.

Mr. Varmudi said that the district was safe from the implications of the agreement for the present.

The major cash crops of the district, arecanut and coconut, had been included in the negative list of the commodities in the free trade agreement signed with ASEAN countries, he said.

However, he warned that commodities such as arecanut will not enjoy the same protection under the negative list after 2019.